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Reproduction Series, ^ 


lloyd' librar 



J. U. & C. G. i^LOYD 










By Benjamin Smith Barton 
Philadelphia, 1798 & 1804 



Tiloyd Bros. 

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"Was the son of an Episcopal clergyman, Rev. Thomas Barton, and bom in the 
village of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, February lo, 1766. His mother, who was 
tlie sister of the well-known astronomer, David Rittenhouse, died when he 
attained the age of eight years, and his father died when he was but fourteen, 
so tbat at a very early date young Barton was debarred parental care and train- 
ing^. His father had planned to take a trip to Europe, but died before sailing. 
A few years previous to leaving Lancaster, he placed his younger children, the 
subject of this sketch among them, with a friend in the country near the vil- 
lage. The love of nature, so marked in after years, was the result of his vil- 
lag^e and country life, and it is probable that this bent was furthered both by 
inheritance and by instruction from his father, who inclined to the study of 
Natural History. This is made evident from the fact that the father was a 
member of the American Philosophical Society, and corresponded with Lin- 
naeus on botanical subjects, as well as that he possessed, according to his son, a 
** fine collection of North American minerals, which was made by my father 
near forty years ago, at a time when he paid more attention to this part of nat- 
ural history than, so far as I know, any other person in the colonies.** 

Young Barton developed a love for drawing at an early age, and maintained 
the accomplishment in after life, even becoming skilled at etching. It is said 
that his love of drawing and much of his instruction in the art was acquired 
from Major Andr6, who was a prisoner in Lancaster.* He was very exacting 
in this direction, insisting that the illustrations for his books be precise and 
true to nature, forbidding any attempt at display by the artist for "artistic 

In the spring of 1780 young Barton and one of his brothers were placed in 
an academy at York, Pa., where he gave his attention for two years to classical 
studies. At the expiration of this time his elder brother, who lived in Phila- 
delphia, took him to his home, and, during this period he attended the College 
of Philadelphia, which directed him towards medicine. In 1884, when eighteen 
years of age, he selected as a preceptor the well-known physician. Dr. William 
Shippen, and made a start in his life work. 

Not content with medical lore derived from books, all of which at that date 
came from Europe, he gave his attention to the investigation of American pro- 
ductions. With this object in view he accompanied (1785) the commission of 
which his uncle, Mr. Rittenhouse, was a member, in its work of running the 
western boundary of Pennsylvania. Here he made the acquaintance of the 
Indians, and began his researches in the direction of the simples employed in 

♦ History of the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania. 

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their medication, as well as a study of their customs and history, a work lie 
carried on during his subsequent life, and which led finally to the publication 
of the " Collections for an Essay towards a Materia Medica of the United 
States," which work appears in full in this Bulletin of the Lloyd Library. 

In further considering the life of B. S. Barton, we find that in 1786 le 
went to Europe as a medical student, and, excepting a few months spent in 
London, remained for two years in Edinburgh. While here he issued (1787) a 
little pamphlet titled ** Observations on Some Parts of Natural History: to -which 
is Prefixed an Account of some Considerable Vestiges of an Ancient Date, 
which have been Discovered in Different Parts of North America." This, his first 
attempt at public print, was not very creditable, being marred by some cru- 
dities and amateurish theories that very soon afterward became patent to him- 
self. While here he became a member of The Royal Medical Society at Edin- 
burgh, and, presenting thereto a paper on Hyoscyamus niger, won the Harveian 
prize. But, for personal reasons, he left Edinburgh before graduating, taking 
his degree at the celebrated German University at Gottingen in the fall of 1 789. 
While in London he was kindly treated by both Dr. Hunter and Dr. Lettsom, 
who recognized his talents and scientific attainments. While here he was also 
elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. 

Immediately on his return to Philadelphia he began the practice of medi- 
cine, and (1789) when but twenty-four years of age was elected Professor of 
Natural History and Botany in the College of Philadelphia, the Chair having 
been created with the object of acquiring his services. This was probably the 
first Chair in Natural History in America, although not the first in Botany. 
When the University of Pennsylvania and College of Philadelphia united (1791), 
the professorship was retained by Barton, and held by him until his death. In 
1798 he was appointed one of the physicians in the Pennsylvania Hospital, 
which position he also held during the remainder of his life. It is evident that 
Dr. Barton aspired to the highest of honors, and worked tenaciously^ to qualify 
himself to receive them. Thus it was that when the celebrated Professor Rush 
died in 18 13, Barton applied for the position, and was elected Professor of *' The 
Theory and Practice of Medicine, and of Institutes and Clinical Medicine." 

But he was not destined to do more than step into the place, make his bow, 
and pass away. During his early years he was often ill, being afflicted with 
hemorrhages and gout. During after-life he studied hard and persistently, "the 
pernicious consequences of his midnight and injudicious toils " sacrificing his 
strength and vitality. A severe hemorrhage was sustained during the time he 
was engaged in preparing his new series of lectures, and after delivering two 
courses, increasing ill health forced him to seek for relief by means of a sea voy- 
age. He sailed for France in April of 18 15, returning by way of England in No- 
vember, disheartened. On landing at New York he was afflicted by hydrothorax, 
and detained in that city three weeks. Finally, reaching home a very sick man, 
he took to his bed, became rapidly worse, and was found dead the morning of 
December 19, 1815. And yet, notwithstanding his illness, accompanied by vio- 
lent hemorrhages from the lungs, he persisted in working, and three days before 

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his death wrote a paper concerning a genus of plants named in his honor, which 
was read by his nephew, W. P. C. Barton, at the following meeting of the Amer- 
ican Philosophical Society. 

In considering the contributions to science and the work of Benjamin S. 
Barton, one is struck by the variety of subjects. He was " an indefatigable 
student and writer." He was a mutual friend of both Pursh and Nuttall, con- 
tributing much towards their success as botanists in the study of the plants of 
North America. Thus Frederick Pursh, in his Flora Americana Sepienirionalis 
(London, 1814), credits Barton with supplying the funds which enabled him to 
take a botanical excursion, which he describes to the eflFect that he started the 
first of 1805, traversed the mountain chains of Virginia and Carolina, returning 
through the coast lands, reaching Philadelphia late in the autumn. Concerning 
Thomas Nuttall, Barton remarks : 

'' I became acquainted with this young Englishman in Philadelphia several 
years ago; and observing in him an ardent attachment to, and some knowledge 
of botany, I omitted no opportunity of fostering his zeal, and of endeavouring to 
extend his knowledge. He had constant access to my house and the benefit of 
my botanical books. 

"In 1810 I proposed to Mr. Nuttall the undertaking of an expedition en- 
tirely at my own expense, and under my immediate direction, to explore the 
botany, etc., of the northern and the north-western parts of the United States 
and the adjoining British territories. Accordingly, having provided him with a 
special passport from the President of the United States, Mr. Madison, and with 
whatever else I deemed necessary, together with a considerable collection of 
manuscript queries and memoranda, Mr. Nuttall took his departure from Phila- 
delphia in April, 18 10. 

** His route was by Pittsburg to Detroit, Michilimakinak, Fox River, the 
Falls of St. Anthony, etc. He deviated, however, from the route which had 
been pointed out to him, having been prevailed upon to ascend the Missouri in 
company with some of his own countrymen, some Americans, and others, whose 
objects were principally traflSc. 

** He proceeded to the Mikanee-town ; from thence to the territory of the 
Mandan Indians, in the boat of a Spanish gentleman ; and in the same vessel 
descended the Missouri to St. Louis, near the confluence of this great river with 
the Mississippi, in the autumn of 181 1. 

" Among a very considerable number of plants which he observed and col- 
lected in the course of his journey, there were two species of a genus which 
he observes in his notes to have the * facies ' or aspect of cactus, and which he 
very properly referred to the class and order of Icosandria monogynia — he 
named this genus Bartonia. One of the species he calls Bartonia superba, and 
the other Bartonia polypetala. The former he found in flower in August and 
September ; growing all the way from the river Platte to the Andes, on broken 
hills and the clefts of rocks— (Pursh adds, not I fear on the best authority, 'and 
on volcanic soil.') He speaks of it as a plant (herba) about three feet high, 
whose * splendid flower expands only in the evening, suddenly opening after 

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remaining closed during the day, and diffusing a most agreeable odour.' It sv 
justly rank (he adds) with the most splendid plants of either America, and ^cj 
probably inhabits Mexico, if not South America. 

" The other species, Bartonia polypetala, he describes as a perennial, g^r» 
ing on gravelly hills, near the Grand Detour, and flowering in August. 

*' In the latter end of the year i8i i, Mr. Nuttall returned to England by tk 
way of New Orleans. Previously to his departure, he transmitted to me a nuj 
ber of the dried specimens and seeds which he had collected. Among the 
there were specimens of both species of Bartonia, together with a good collet 
tion of seeds. At the same time he sent me a manuscript book, in which be hs 
given pretty full descriptions of the two plants by the names which I ha?? 
already mentioned ; viz.: Bartonia superba and Bartonia pol)rpetala.'* 

That Professor B. S. Barton was a man of varied attainments is shown by 
the fact that his papers on every subject commanded attention the world over 
and won him distinction at home. To his biography, by W. P. C. Barton, we aie 
indebted for the following list of works from his pen : 

" I. De Hyoscyamo nigro— the Harveian prize dissertation, before men- 
tioned, 1787. 

" 2. On the same parts of natural history, etc, etc., his first work, befoR | 

mentioned, published in London in 1787 — octavo, about 80 pages, with si \ 

engraving. i 

'' 3. A memoir concerning the fascinating faculty which has been ascribed \ 

to the rattlesnake, and other North American serpents ; first edition, octavo, 3^ { 

pages — 1796. ? 

" 4. Collections for an essay towards a materia medica of the United States.! 

Read before the Philadelphia Medical Society, on the twenty-first day of Febrti-| 

ary, 1798 — 49 pages octavo. I 

" 5. Fragments of the natural history of Pennsylvania, folio, 42 pages — | 

1799. \ 

** 6. New views of the origin of the tribes and nations of America — octavo, 
165 pages— 1798. 

" 7: Supplement to a memoir concerning the fascinating faculty which has 
been ascribed to the rattle-snake, and other North American serpents, in a letter 
to Professor Zimmerman, of Brunswick, in Germany — octavo, 38 pages — 

" 8. Memoir concerning the disease of Goitre, as it prevails in different parts 
of North America; octavo, 94 pages, 1800. 

"9. Collections, etc., part first, second edition — 64 pages octavo — 1801. 
" 10. Elements of botany, or, outlines of the natural history of vegetables, 
illustrated by 30 plates, first edition, two volumes. octavo, together 508 pag^es 

** II. Collections, etc., part second, first edition — 53 pages, octavo — 1804. 
** 12. Facts, observations, and conjectures relative to the generation of the 
opossum of North America, in a letter to Mons. Roume, of Paris — 8vo, 14 
pages — 1809. 

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"13. A discourse on some of the principal desiderata in natural history, and 
on the best means of promoting the study of this science in the United States; 
read before the Philadelphia Linnean Society, on the loth of June, 1807 — octavo, 
90 pages— 1807. 

'* 14. Some account of the Siren Lacertina, and other species of the same 
genus of amphibious animals ; in a letter to Mr. John Gottlob Schneider, of 
Saxony, with an outline engraving of the animal, from a finished drawing 
made. by myself. Octavo, 34 pages, 1808. 

" 15. Collections, etc. Third edition, octavo, 120 pages, 1810. 

''16. A memoir concerning an animal of the class of reptilia, or amphibia, 
which is known in the United States by the names of alligator and hell-bender, 
with an engraving; octavo, 26 pages — 181 2. 

"17. Flora Virginica: sive plantarum, praecipue indigenarum, Virginiae 
Historia inchoata. Iconibus illustrata.* Pars prima, octavo, 74 pages. Printed 
in 18 1 2, and going only as far as the fourth class of the Linnaean arrangement. 

" 18. Elements of Botany, or outlines of the natural history of vegetables, 
illustrated with forty plates; the second edition, first volume. 310 pages, with 
an index of forty pages — 181 2. 

** 19. Additional facts, observations, and conjectures, relative to the genera- 
tion of the opossum of North America, in a letter to Professor J. A. H. Rei- 
marus, of Hamburg; octavo, 24 pages — 18 13. 

" 20. Archaeologiae Americanae Telluris Collectanea et Specimina ; or, collec- 
tions, with specimens for a series of memoirs on certain extinct animals and 
vegetables of North America ; together with facts and conjectures relative to 
the ancient condition of the lands and waters of the continent ; illustrated by 
engravings. Part first, octavo, 64 pages — 181 4. 

"21. Elements of Botany, second volume, in 18 14. 

*' 22. Memoir concerning the fascinating faculty which has been ascribed to 
various species of serpents ; a new edition, greatly enlarged, and embellished by 
a plate; quarto, 76 pages — 18 14. 

" 23. An edition of CuUen's Materia Medica, with notes. 

** 24. Ditto first vol. CuUen's First Lines. 

** 25. Medical and Physical Journal. 

Besides these separate works, the following is a list of his papers and me- 
moirs, read to the American Philosophical Society, and printed in the different 
volumes of the transactions of that society : 

** I. An account of the most effectual means of preventing the deleterious 
consequences of the bite of the crotalus horridus, or rattle-snake. Philo. 
Trans, vol. 3d, pages 14 quarto. 

" 2. An inquiry into the question whether the apis mellifica, or true honey- 
bee, is a native of America. Ditto, 20 pages, quarto. 

*' 3. A botanical description of the podophyllum diphyllum of Linnaeus, in 
a letter to Charles Peter Thunberg, M. D., Knight of the Order of Wasa, Pro- 

* There are no plates in it. 

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fessor of Medicine and Botany in the University of Upsal, etc. Ditto, 14 paa 
quarto, accompanied with a plate of the plant to which Dr. Barton g^ave 
name of JeflFersonia, in honor of Thomas JeflFerson. 

** 4. An account of the fascinating faculty which has been ascribed to i 
rattle-snake and other North American serpents. Vol. 4th of the Philo. Trs: 
40 pages quarto. (This paper afterwards appeared in the form of a sepaic 
work, as has been mentioned, and went through two editions.) 

** 5. Some account of an American species of dipus or jerboa. Ditto, wit 
an engraving of the animal. 1 1 pages quarto. 

" 6. Observations and conjectures concerning certain articles which wcr: 
taken out of an ancient tumulus or grave, at Cincinnati, in the county of Sami 
ton, and territory of the United States, northwest of the Ohio ; in a letter to D: 
Priestley. Ditto, 36 pages quarto. 

" 7. Hints relative to the stimulant effects of camphor upon vegetable 
Ditto, 3 pages quarto. 

" 8. Some account of the poisonous and injurious honey of North Americi 
Vol. 5, Phil. Trans. 16 pages quarto. 

"9. Memorandum concerning a new vegetable muscipula. Vol. 6, Phil 
Trans. 3 pages quarto. 

*• 10. Some account of a new species of North American lizard. Ditto, \ 
pages quarto, with an engraving of the animal. 

"11. Supplement to the account of the dipus Americana, in the 4th vol. c: 
the transactions of the Am. Ph. Society. Ditto, 2 pages quarto. 

" 12. Hints on the etymology of certain English words, and on their aflSnitj 
to words in the languages of different European, Asiatic, and American (Indian) 
nations, in a letter to Dr. Thomas Beddoes. Ditto, 13 pages. 

" 13. At a special meeting of the Philosophical Society, February 24, 1804, 
Dr. Barton was chosen to deliver an eulogium upon Dr. Priestley. 

** 14. In February, 1800, he read to the Am. Phil. Society an extensive 
memoir, entitled **A geographical view of the trees and shrubs of North 

"15. A memoir (which gained the Magellanic premium) concerning a con- 
siderable number of pernicious insects of the United States. 

'' Professor Zimmerman translated into German the memoir (Transactions 
Phil. Society) on the bite of the rattle-snake. Also the memoir on the fascinat- 
ing faculty of the rattle-snake, etc., to which last he added notes, and an intro- 
duction in the German language of 22 pages duodecimo. 

" The Elements of Botany have been republished in London, and translated 
into the Russian language at St. Petersburgh." 

Professor Barton married (1797) a daughter of Mr. Edward Pennington, of 
Philadelphia, two children, a boy and a girl, and the mother, surviving him. 
The son, Thomas Pennant Barton, was "American Charg6 d* Affaires at Paris, 
July, 1836." 

Two portraits of Professor B. S. Barton are in existence, one an engraving 
in his biography by his nephew, W. P. C. Barton, the other being in the Phila- 
delphia Academy of Natural Science. 

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The portrait we present is from the Popular Science Monthly, and a repro- 
duction of that in his biography. It presents the forcible, thoughtful face of a 
cultured gentleman of Colonial times. 

In this connection it may be well to let his nephew, the biographer 
alluded to, give the description of the man and his methods : 

** The ardent thirst for literary fame, which strongly marked the character 
of Professor Barton through life, rendered him a most indefatigable student 
from tiis earliest youth. He read much, wrote a great deal, and contemplated 
nature with unceasing attention. His numerous publications afford, of them- 
selves, sufficient proofs of an uncommon degree of industry ; but, besides these, 
tie Tv^as long engaged in collecting materials for other works, and preparing 
some for the press ; all of which, it is greatly to be regretted, will now probably 
be lost to the world. 

'* Amidst his professional avocations, which were numerous— the duties of 
Ills station as a medical teacher, which were arduous — and a considerable portion 
of his time that was occupied in keeping up an epistolary correspondence with 
distinguished men of science,* as well in the old world as in his own country — 
amidst all these occupations, it is a matter of surprise, that he could have found 
a sufficiency of leisure for his multitudinous pursuits in literature and science : 
and the more especially when it is taken into view, that he was frequently im- 
peded in these pursuits by the privation of health. 

* Among the most distinguished of these are the following named : 

The count de la C6p^de, peer of France, etc., to whom Dr. Barton dedicated the quarto 
edition of his memoir on the fascinating faculty of the rattle-snake. 

Professor E. A. W. Zimmerman, of Brunswick, in Germany. 

Professor J. A. H. Reimarus, of Hamburg. 

Professor John Frederick Blumenbach, of Gottingen, to whom he dedicated his memoir 
on the disease of Goitre. 

Mr. Thomas Pennant, the celebrated author of Arctic Zoology. 

John Mason Good, Esq., F. R. S., etc., surgeon, of London, (well known by his poetical 
version of the songs of Solomon) — to whom he dedicated his Archaeologise Americanae 
Telluris, etc. 

Dr. James Edward Smith, the learned president of the Linnsean Society of London, to 
whom he dedicated the second editition of the first part of his Collections, etc 

Professor Autenrieth, of Tiibingen. 

Mr. Tilesius, an eminent naturalist of St Petersburgh, Russia. 

Monsieur Roume, of Paris, an intelligent French naturalist 

Mr. John Gottlob Schneider, of Saxony, a late celebrated writer on amphibious animals. 

Dr. Patterson, of Londonderry, in Ireland. 

Monsieur G. Cuvier, of Paris, the illustrious author of many learned works on organic 
geology, etc. 

Sir Joseph Banks, Bart., the well-known liberal and munificent patron of literature and 

Dr. John Walker, Professor of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh. 

Baron Humboldt 

Professor Pallas, of Russia. 

Professor Spamnan, Sweden. 

Professor Thunbcrg, Sweden. 

Professor Burmann, of Holland. 

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" Natural history and botany were his favorite studies,* and in his invest 
gation of these branches of science he made a conspicuous figure. Se er 
ployed much research respecting the origin of the tribes and nations of Ainer 
ica, on which subject he has, I am persuaded, left many valuable manuscri; 
materials. He was fond of investigating what may be termed the aniiquiii^s c 
this country ; and particularly interested in zoological inquiries. 

" He was a skeptic in matters of science depending on human testimony- 
in fact, his incredulity was astonishing. He upheld the value of skepticism i: 
his lectures, and in one of his publications he thus expresses himself: ' Credit 
lity is the most injurious feature in the character of the naturalist, as well as a 
the historian. Its influence, in one individual, is often felt and propag-atec 
through many ages. Unfortunately, too, it has been the vice of naturalists, or 
those who have touched on questions relative to natural history.' 

** The genius of Dr. Barton was of the highest grade : it was rapid, com- 
prehensive, and brilliant in the extreme. He was well aware of the ineflicacy 
and fruitlessness, however, of its unaided efforts ; he did not rely, therefore, on 
the native powers of his mind alone, great as they were, but applied himself 
closely to the avocations of the closet. He was not only a man of extraordinary 
industry, but of quick perception and various information. His genius 
prompted him to conceive with celerity all the varied and diverse relations oi 
those subjects to which the bent of his mind more particularly attached him — 
he was, therefore, a rapid writer. He possessed a memory remarkably, nay, ex- 
traordinarily tenacious and faithful, particularly with respect to facts and 
chronological events. He never forgot what he once determined to remember, 
hence he read with great advantage ; and though his reading was always desul- 
tory, irregular, and to all appearance hasty, he was able to make the most profit- 
able use of it. He possessed a good judgment, much imagination, and a taste 
for the fine arts. He was indeed a man of uncommon genius and excellent 
professional talents. 

" As a medical teacher, he was eloquent, instructive, and, when occasion 
called for it, quite pathetic. His voice was good, though attenuated, penetrat- 
ing, and sometimes rather sharp ; his enunciation clear and distinct ; bis pro- 

* In the preface to bis Elements of Botany be thus speaks of his attachment to these 
sciences : " The different branches of natural history, particularly zoology and botany, have 
been my favorite studies from a very early period of my life. The happiest hours of near 
sixteen years of cares, of difficulties, or of sickness, have been devoted to the cultivation of 
these interesting sciences. During this long period I have never ceased to look forward, 
as I still look forward, with an ardent satisfaction to the time when natural history (includ- 
ing botany) shall be taught as an indispensable branch of science in our University. That 
period, however, has not yet arrived. I have, however, the satisfaction of observing that 
these sciences are making some, nay, even great advances among us ; and I still flatter my- 
self that the directors of our principal American universities, or other seminaries of learn- 
ing, but in particular^ the trustees of the University of Pennsylvania (in which all the 
branches of medicine are taught much more extensively than in any other part of the 
United States), will see the propriety, and even necessity, of giving more substantial encour- 
agement for the extension of natural history among us.'* 

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cwinciation constrained, and his emphasis, owing to his remarkable kind of punc- 
tnatioii and a desire to be perspicuously understood, was studied, forced, and 
often inappropriate. In his lectures his diction was cacophonous and un- 

" As a writer, he is ingenious, rich in facts, profound in research, and always 
abounding in useful information. He wanted, howe'^er, in a great degree, a tal- 
ent for generalizing. Hence his various works are characterized by an egre- 
gious -want of method, or perspicuous arrangement. His style, it must be con- 
fessed, is always diflfuse, inelegant, and frequently tautological. As he never 
corrected what he once wrote, or at least but rarely, these defects in his compo- 
sition were the natural consequences of his vehemence in writing. His punc- 
tuation is truly remarkable, and, for a man of his discernment and extensive 
reading, singularly incorrect. 

**As a physician, he discovered a mind quick in discriminating disease, 
skillful in the application of appropriate remedies, though he certainly was a 
very cautious, if not timid, practitioner. No man read more extensively on the 
subject of diseases ; in fact, he was deeply versed in pathological knowledge, 
derived from books. As, however, his medical practice was never very exten- 
sive, his practical observations delivered in his lectures were strikingly marked 
with the evidences of overweening caution. Hence he recommended to his pu- 
pils, and always employed himself, unusually small doses of medicine. He was, 
however, in the main, an observing and intelligent practitioner, and was remark- 
ably assiduous in his attentions, and soothing in his behavior to his patients. 

''In figure he was tall, and exceedingly well formed; in middle life he 
might be considered as having been handsome. His physiognomy was strongly 
expressive of intelligence, and his eye was remarkably fine and penetrating.* 

"In temperament he was irritable and even choleric. His spirits were 
irregular, his manners consequently variable, impetuous, vehement. These 
repeated vacillations between equanimity and depression, were generally owing 
to the sudden and repeated attacks of his continual earthly companion — irregu- 
lar gout 

'' In familiar conversation he was often elegant, remarkably facetious, but 
never witty. 

''As a parent, he was kind, tender, and indulgent to a fault. 

*The best likeness extant of Dr. Barton is the fine profile, done in mezzotinto, by St 
Memim (the engraving prefixed to this sketch is copied from it) when the doctor was about 
thirty-seven years of age. The life-size crayon profile, from which the miniature mezzotinto 
was taken, is also a very good likeness : it is the property of the Pennsylvania Hospital, 
where it now is. His portrait of kit-kat-size^ was painted while in England, by his ingenious 
friend and early prot6g6, Mr. Jennings : this was, at the time it was taken, a good likeness. 
And another, in a more finished style of painting, though certainly not a happy resemblance, 
was painted by Mr. Rembrant Peale, within the last two years of the doctor's life. Mr. Trott 
painted a fine miniature picture of him, which is in all respects, except the expression of 
the mouth, a most excellent likeness. 

The execrable caricatures, now exposed for sale in the print-shops and book-stores, have 
only the most distant traces of resemblance. 

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"He possessed some high virtues; among the most elevated of them b 
his unaflFected love of country. Indeed, his patriotic feelings were not oe.: 
strong, but frequently expressed with unreserved warmth. He always spd 
with extreme impatience of the arrogance of pretending foreigners of tlie Jfe 
ary grade, too many of whom resort to our country, being nothing in their ok 
and perpetually insult us by their vain and insuflFerable denunciations of c 
claims to national genius, talents, and learning." 

That Professor Barton possessed not only a local and an enviable reputatk 
abroad by reason of his labor in science is shown by the fact that he ^was ■. 
member of the Imperial Society of Naturalists of Moscow, the Linnaean Socdcr 
of London, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Danish Royal Socier 
of Sciences, and the Royal Danish Medical Society. 

Several biographies of Professor B. S. Barton have appeared, among ^vhk: 
the following are most prominent, being the works consulted in this study : 

Biography of Dr. W. P. C. Barton, in the revised " Elements of Botany, 
1836. From this work, it seems, all the other biographies, including our own 
have been largely constructed. 

A History of the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania. 
1869, by Joseph Carson, pp. 126. 

Sketch of Benjamin Smith Barton, Popular Science Monthly y 1896, p. 831 
(portrait, p. 720). Our portrait is copied from this print. 

The Botanists of Philadelphia and Their Work, by John W. Harshbergei 
Ph. D., 1899. pp. 108. 

Having thus briefly recounted the part taken by Dr. Benjamin Smiti 
Barton in scientific affairs about one hundred years ago, we may add that, in oui 
opinion, no other man in early American medicine made a more marked and 
lasting impress. His were the first eflForts of any American teacher to call 
attention to our indigenous remedies in a prominent or systematic way. 

The result of his guidance is seen in the numbers of theses on medico- 
botanical subjects that were evolved from the University of Pennsylvania dur- 
ing the period of his connection with that institution, a work that still redounds 
to its honor and credit. 

"Barton's Collections" are referred to by all who study the history of 
American drugs, being the first English work on the subject. Long since out 
of print, this is a very rare volume. 

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By benjamin SMITH BARTON. M. D. 





** Sunt Simplicia desumpta e triplid Naturae Regno : e Lapideo, Vege- 
** tabili & Animali ; heic Vegetabilia tantum depromsi, quae maTimam 
<' constituunt Materiae Medicae partem, alio tempori reservans cetera." 






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Dear Sin, 


CANNOT expect to add any thing to your 
reputation, by dedicating to you the following 
pages. I mean not, by this act, to choose a patron 
who shall veil my faults, or screen me from the 
censure of the public critic The actions of men, 
particularly perhaps of young men, are sometimes 
disinterested. It is with pleasure I declare to the 
public, how much I admire your exertions for the 
extension of that amiable science which both of us 
cultivate : you with the happiest success ; I with an 
humble ardour. 

The age in which we live is the age of natural 
science. The mind of LiNNiSUS has eflFected more 
than the combined intellects of all the naturalists of 
any preceding century. Natural history, however, 
is still an infant science. This is particularly the 

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( iv ) 

case with respect to America. Even the nomenclature 
of our productions is extremely imperfect. We 
are still less acquainted with the properties of our 
productions. I view this blank in the history of sci- 
ence, with pain. This pain, however, is daily dimi- 
nished: for something is daily added to the stock of 
our knowledge. 

I AM far from insinuating, that what I offer you 
is important in its kind. I am fully sensible of the 
imperfections of this Essay. I could wish it were 
more worthy of your attention. If I succeed in 
convincing you, that there are some lovers and culti- 
vators of botany in the United-States, one of my 
objects in writing this dedication will be accom- 

Accept of my sincere wishes for your happiness, 
and believe me to be, with great respect. 
Dear Sir, 

Your friend and humble servant, &c. 

March 12th, 1798. 

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HOPE the following pages will be received 
as an earnest of my desire to extend our know- 
ledge of the medical properties of the indigenous 
vegetables of the United-States. I do not expect 
to acquire any reputation by the publication. Per- 
haps, in making this assertion, I shall not be doubt- 
ed, when I confess that in every thing which I have 
hitherto published, I have had reputation in view. 
If I have not acquired it, I have borne the disap- 
pointment with tranquil indifference. 

The readers of these Collections (for every thing 
that is written and published solicits some readers), 
will form different opinions about my medical faith. 
Some of them will think I have too much ; and 
others that I have not enough. I certainly do not 
repose implicit confidence in the half of what is said 
concerning the powers of medicines. Accordingly, 
I have not given a place in these pages to many of 
our vegetables which have been praised as spe- 
cifics for the cure of diseases ; in particular, as spe- 
cifics against the bites of venomous serpents. But, 
on the other hand, it will be asked, whether I mean 

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that all the diflferent vegetables which I have men- 
tioned, should have a place in the materia medica 
of physicians? I answer, No. But how are we to 
know what plants are most proper for the purposes of 
medicine,until we shall have examined the properties 
of a great body of vegetables ? The Digitalis is now 
thought one of the most important of the diuretic 
medicines : but perhaps future inquiries will discover 
a diuretic which shall, in a great measure, supersede 
the frequent use of this active plant. I wish to turn 
the attention of our physicians to an investigation of 
the properties of their native productions. When 
it is considered how little has hitherto been done in 
this way, every attempt (mine is an humble one) 
should be candidly received. I do not mean that 
its faults should not be pointed out. 

The arrangement of the articles which I have 
mentioned is by no means faultless: on the con- 
trary, it is liable to many objections. I should not 
have followed this arrangement had I been consid- 
ering all the articles of the materia medica. I 
shall give a sketch of my ideas of a method of the 
science, in my strictures on the arrangement of the 
learned and elegant author of the Botanic Garden^ 
a poem which unites the fire of Lucretius with the 
taste of Virgil, and a learning unequalled by that 
of Camoens or of Milton. 

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( vii ) 

I THINK it but candid to confess, that since read- 
ing this address to the Medical Society, I have made 
some alterations in it. These alterations, however, 
are very inconsiderable. In general, even the very 
style and faults of each phrase are preserved, for I 
had not time to alter or correct much. I have left 
out the concluding part of the address, relative to 
the establishment of a medical library : not that I 
doubt the ability of the society to form a library of 
its own. The notes contained in the appendix 
were not read to the society. 

Whatever may be the reception of this essay 
by the public, whether favourable or unfavourable, 
I sl;iall pursue my inquiries concerning the nature 
and properties of the natural productions of my 
native country. I shall pursue them, because there 
is at least a possibility that they may ultimately tend 
to something useful : and because I have the expe- 
rience of several years to teach me, that the cultiva- 
tion of science is the extension of my happiness. 


Page 13. For Comus Cindnata, read Comna circinata. 


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E have assembled together to celebrate the 
anniversary of our foundation. It is an occasion 
which ought to give pleasure to us all. We have 
met, however, for the difficult purpose of mingling 
science with pleasure. This difficulty falls peculi- 
arly upon me. By your vote, I have been called 
upon to deliver the annual discourse. I accepted 
of the appointment cheerfully, because I was anxi- 
ous to demonstrate my attachment to the Society, 
of which I had the honor to be a member at a 
very early period of my life ; a Society in which I 
first imbibed my love of the different sciences 
which constitute the great fabric of medicine. 

But if I accepted of the appointment with 
pleasure, I do not address you with confidence. I 
have found it difficult to select a subject for your 


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entertainment. I, at one time, contemplated a 
comparative view of the diflFerent theories which 
have prevailed in medicine, in the present centnry. 
But I soon found this subject too extensive for our 
purpose: besides, in the investigation of this view, 
I should have been obliged to speak with a freedom, 
which might not have given pleasure to every one 
of us. Men are often attached to theories, as pa- 
rents are attached to their children. 

After some difficulty, I have selected a subject. 
It is An Essay towards a materia medica of the 
United-States; or, if you please. An Inquiry what 
indigenous vegetables of our country may be used 
with advantage in the treatment of diseases. This, 
you will immediately perceive, is a task both exten- 
sive and difficult But it is an important one. I 
shall not, perhaps, perform a duty altogether un- 
acceptable to you, if I furnish you with a few 
facts not generally known to you before. This is 
all I aim at. 

Mine is not the first attempt of this kind. Be- 
sides the paper entitled Specifica Canadensium^ Dr. 
Schoepf, of Erlangen in Germany, has favoured us 
with a specimen of such a work, under the title of 
Materia Medica Americana poHssimum regtd vege- 

* See AmoeniUtet Academioe. Vol. iv. DiMertatio Ixxii. 

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tabilis. This work was printed in 1 787. The author 
arranges the articles according to the sexual system 
of Linnaeus. This, though an objection, is not the 
greatest. He has given us nothing from his own 
experience. He ascribes active powers to plants 
which are nearly inert, and appears to me to be, 
in some measure, governed by the old notion of 
Signatures: one of the tyrants of the ancient 
schools. He discovers none of that infidelity, or, 
if you please, scepticism, which ought ever to be 
attached to physicians : I mean not an infidelity 
relative to religion ; but an unwillingness to acqui- 
esce, without good proofs, in the truth of every 
tale concerning the powers of medicines. This 
pliant, this credulous disposition, has been one of 
the causes which have obstructed the regular march 
of medical science. But as the effort of Schoepf is 
the best of the kind, so we ought to tread lightly 
on his work. He is at least a man of learning ; 
and learning should always claim indulgence from 
the lovers and cultivators of science. 

I AM far from supposing that it is in my power, 
especially on this occasion, to supply all the defects 
of Schoepf 's book. It would be easy to point out 
its faults. I aim at a rude sketch of our materia 
medica. It is so extremely unfinished, that I have 
no objection to its being called by any inferior 
name. I confine myself entirely to vegetables. 

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YOU are all acquainted with the great general 
division of the materia medica into two parts: 
that which relates to the aliments, or nutrtentia^ 
of mankind, and the medical part, more strictly so 
called. Each of these is highly important; but I 
mean in this address to confine myself almost en- 
tirely to the latter branch. Yet the former should 
claim some of our attention. Much may be ex- 
pected from a country which has blessed us with 
the maize, the potatoe, &c. I could readily fur- 
nish you with a long list of the indigenous nu- 
trientia of this country; but such a list would 
be very uninteresting. On this subject, however* 
an useful work might be written. He who shall 
undertake to examine the subject extensively will 
find, that Providence has, in the gift of esculent 
vegetables, been as liberal to the countries of the 
United-States, as to any other countries of the 
world, of equal extent. 

Under this head of the nutrientia, I shall con- 
tent myself with mentioning two native articles, 
which deserve the attention of physicians and 
others. Perhaps they may even supersede, on 
many occasions, the use of some other articles, 
which are purchased at a pretty dear rate. 

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There grows upon the river Mobile a species 
of palm, which is but little known to naturalists, 
but which promises to be an important article of 
food to man. It has no stalk or stem above 
ground. The leaves spread regularly all round, 
and when fully expanded are flabelliform. In the 
centre of these leaves is produced the receptacle of 
the fruit, which is of the form and size of a com- 
mon sugar-loaf. This receptacle consists of a vast 
number of drupes, or berries, of the size and 
shape of common plumbs : each is covered with a 
fibrous, farinaceous, pulpy coating of considera- 
ble thickness. This substance is said to resemble 
manna in texture, colour and taste; or, perhaps, 
it still more resembles moist brown sugar, with 
particles of loaf sugar mixt with it. It is a most 
delicious and nourishing food, and is diligently 
sought after in the places where it grows. Upon 
first tasting it, it is somewhat bitter and pungent.* 

The large tuberous roots of the Smilax China 
afford our southern Indians a nourishing food. 
The fresh roots are well macerated in wooden mor- 
tars. The mass is then put into vessels nearly filled 
with clear water, where it is well mixed with pad- 
dles. It is decanted off into other vessels, where 
it is left to settle, and after the subsidence is com- 

* Prom the infonnatioii of Mr. WUUaiii Bartram. MS pents wu. Vol. i. 

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pleted, the water is cast off, leaving the farinace- 
ous substance at the bottom. When this is taken 
out and dried, it is an impalpable powder of a red- 
ish colour. Mixed with boiling water, it becomes 
a beautiful jelly, which, when sweetened with honey 
or sugar, affords a most nourishing and pleasant food 
for children or aged people. The Indians some- 
times use it mixed with fine corn-flour, and fryed 
in fresh bears' oil.* 

The chemical history of the maize, or Indian 
com, the blessing of our country, deserves to be 
farther investigated. Its importance as an article 
of diet is sufficiently established by the experience 
of wliole nations. 


I AM not very anxious, on this occasion, about my 
division of the materia medica. I have attempted, 
in my lectures, to make some improvements upon 
the arrangement of Dr. Cullen ; and, if I live, I hope 
to publish, in a few months, my strictures on the 
late arrangement of the ingenious Dr. Darwin. At 
present, in possession of only a small collection of 
original facts immediately relative to the materia 

* Prom the inf onnatioii of Mr. William Bartram. MS ^enes wu. Vol. i . 

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medica of the United-States, I shall content myself 
with disposing of these facts under the nine fol- 
lowing heads, viz. i. Astringents; 2. Tonics; 
3. Stimulants; 4. Errhines; 5. Sialagoga, 
or Salivating medicines; 6. Emetics; 7. Ca- 
thartics; 8. Diuretics; 9. Anthelmintics. 


I THINK it proper, in the present state of our 
knowledge of medicines, to give place to a class of 
Astringents. There is the more propriety for 
the adoption of such a class, because we see more 
readily, than with respect to many other medicines, 
their direct mode of operation. Our vegetable 
astringents, I mean the purer and more unmixed 
astringents, are numerous. The barks of all our 
oaks are of this kind. But I may here particularly 
mention three or four native astringents, which 
seem to be more especially entitled to your attention. 

The first is the Geranium Maculatum, or Spot- 
. ted Geranium, which grows very plentifully about 
this city: it flowers in the spring. The root is 
used: this boiled in milk has been found an excel- 
lent medicine in the cholera of children. It is not 
necessary to be very nice about the dose. I imagine 
it would also prove useful in old diarrheas, where 

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the kino, and other astringents are exhibited. If 
nephritis, of certain kinds, be relieved by astrin- 
gents, this geranium would seem entitled to atten- 
tion, not merely because it is a powerful astrin- 
gent, but because a species of the same genus, 
the Geranium robertianum, or Herb-Robert, has 
been employed with advantage in this distressing 

The Heuchera Americana is the next astringent 
This is sometimes called American Sanicle. It is 
more commonly called Alum-Root. The root is a 
very intense astringent It is the basis of a powder 
which has lately acquired some reputation in the 
cure of cancer. I suppose all its virtue, in this case, 
depends upon its astringency. I may here observe, 
that the disease of cancer is not confined to civilized 
nations. It is known among our Indians. I am 
informed that the Cheerake cure it with a plant 
which is thought to be the Hydrastis Canadensis, 
one of our fine native dies. I do not believe that 
the Heuchera has cured genuine cancer: but it 
seems certain that it has proved very beneficial in 
some obstinate ulcers, which have been mistaken, 
for cancer. In such cases, the astringent medicines 
are too much neglected. 

* I am not certain that the Geraninm robertianum is a native of any 
part of America. 

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The Actaea racemosa, or Black Snake-root, is 
also a valuable medicine. It is sometimes called 
Squaw-root, I suppose from its having been used as 
a medicine by our Indians. The root of this plant 
is considerably astringent. In a putrid sore throat 
which prevailed in Jersey, many years ago, a strong 
decoction of the roots was used, with great benefit, 
as a gargle. Our Indians set an high value on it. 
A decoction of it cures the itch. In North-Caro- 
lina, it has been found useful, as a drench, in the 
disease of cattle called the murrain. 

The Uva Ursi* is considerably astringent. Yet 
I suspect that it does not operate entirely by virtue 
of its astringent quality. This plant, from my own 
experience, I can recommend to you as a most val- 
uable medicine. It should be in the hands of every 
physician. I have used it with advantage in old 
gonorrhea. But its great virtue is that of a medi- 
cine in nephritis. I am inclined to think that it is 
peculiarly adapted to cases of what I call nephritis 
podagrica, or nephritis depending upon gout. This 
is one of the plants which is common to the old and 
to the new-world. It grows plentifully in Canada, 
New- York, New-Jersey, &c. Schoepf says, the 
Indians mix the leaves with tobacco.f 


* Arbatut Uva nrti of Linntetif . f Page 68. 

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The Liquidambar asplenifolium* of Linnaeus is 
well known by the name of Sweet-Fern. It has 
often been found useful in diarrhea. Other virtues 
have been ascribed to it.f 

Sect. II. TONICS. 

I BELIEVE all the astringent medicines are more 
or less Tonic. But there are a good many tonics 
which are not astringent. There is, certainly, some 
propriety in considering the astringents and tonics 
under two distinct heads, as Dr. Cullen has done. 
But, perhaps, the tonics should only form one sec- 
tion of the great class of stimulants. Certain it is, 
that many of the tonic medicines are considerably 

The class of tonics is extremely interesting to 
physicians. It embraces some of the most valuable 
medicines with which we are acquainted, such as 
the Peruvian bark, the extensive tribe of bitter 
medicines, as the gentians, &c. The natural in- 
firmities of mankind, and perhaps especially the 
vices to which civilized nations are so propense, 
will always render the tonics most necessary imple- 
ments in the hands of physicians. 

* Comptonia uplenifolia of Alton, f See Scfaoepf, p. 143. 

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Our woods possess several medicines which I am 
inclined to think might to be used, with advantage, 
as substitutes for the Peruvian bark. Perhaps, ^ 

most of our Oaks, which are in general dififerent \ 

from the oaks of the old-world, are of this kind. ^ 

Sufficient trials have not been made with them; 
at least infernally used. Externally some of them 
have been employed with advantage. I have used 
the bark of the Spanish oak* in gangrene, and I 
had every reason to think it was, in this case, equal 
in power to the best Peruvian bark. The bark of 
the Prunus Virginiana, or Wild-Cherry-tree, has 
been used in intermittent fevers, and found useful. 
This is a very common tree. Its leaves are poison- 
ous to certain animals, as calves. Even the berries 
intoxicate dififerent kinds of birds. The barks of 
the Common Sassafras (Laurus Sassafras) and Per- 
simmon (Diospyros Virginiana) have likewise been \ 
found useful in intermittents. In the year 1793, I 
used the bark of the last of these vegetables in an 
ulcerous sore throat.t Our Willows have not been 
attentively examined. We have several native spe- 
cies, and I believe they possess nearly the same pro- 
perties which have been ascribed to the willows of 

*Quercu6 rubra montana of Marshall. 

fDr. Woodhouse has favoured us with some interesting information 
concerning the Persimmon. See his Inaugural Dissertation. Philadel- 
phia. 1793. 


( la ) 

Europe,* by Stone, Haller, and other writers. The 
Dogwood is a genus which seems well worthy of 
attention. Of this, the Comus of the botanists, 
there are several species in North-America. The 
most common is the Comus Florida, or Common 
Dogwood. I find this in every part of the United- 
St'ites. It is one of our most beautiful shrubs. It 
flowers early in the spring, and with so much regu- 
laiity, that some of our southern tribes were accus- 
tomed to name the spring season from its flowering. 
The bark is considerably astringent. It has long 
been employed in intermittent fevers. A decoction 
of it has also been employed, and found very useful, 
in a malignant fever, called the yellow water, Ca- 
nada distemper, &c. which, within the last eight 
years, has carried off" great numbers of the horses 
in the United-States. The ripe fruit, or berries, 
infused in spirit or brandy, make an agreeable bit- 
ter. Our Indians employ an infusion of the flow- 
ers in intermittents. The same infusion has been 
much recommended by some in flatulent cholic. 
I have used it as a tea. 

The Comus sericea, another species, is called 
Red- Willow and Rose- Willow; which are very 
improper names. The bark of this is often mixed 
with tobacco and smoken by the savages. It has 

} PmrticYilArly the S«liz alU, Salix penUndn, Salix latifolia. &c. 

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been found but little inferior to the common pale 
Peruvian bark, in intermittent fevers. This species 
grows in wet places, on the sides of rivers, creeks, 
&c. and flowers in August and September. I know 
nothing of the medical properties of the other na- 
tive species of this genus; viz, Comus Canadensis, 
Comus Cincinata, &c. 

Many years ago, Zannichelli, and of late, Cus- 
son and other writers, recommended the bark of 
the -^sculus Hippocastanum, or Common Horse- 
Chesnut, as a substitute for the Peruvian bark. 
This -^sculus is not a native of America, though 
it thrives very well in the open ground of Pennsyl- 
vania, &c. But we have at least two native species 
of the same genus within the limits of the United- 
States.* Whether the bark of these possess the 
properties which have been ascribed to the Hippo- 
castanum, I do not know. They deserve to be 

I MUST not omit to mention, under this head, the 
Magnolias. Of this fine genus, we have at least six 
species, viz. the Magnolia glauca, the acuminata, 
the tripetala, the grandiflora, the auriculata, and 
the Fraseri. I believe they all possess nearly one 
general assemblage of properties ; but of this I am 

* JEscnlus Pmvia of UnnKUf, and iEtcului flaya of Aiton. 


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not quite certain. The species that is best known 
^ to me is the glauca, commonly called Magnolia, 

f Beaver-tree, and Swamp-Sassafras. The bark of 

this is an agreeable aromatic, tonic, bitter medicine. 
It has been used in intermittent fevers. The flow- 
ers have a powerful and to most persons an agreea- 
ble smell. It is an emanation which must be con- 
' sidered as a potent stimulant, or incitant. I am well 

acquainted with a physician in whom the newly- 
expanded flower evidently increased the paroxysm 
of a fever which came on every afternoon; and 
: also increased the pain of inflammatory gout. This 

^ is an interesting fact. In Virginia, a spirituous tinc- 

ture of the cones, or seed-vessels, of the Magnolia 
acuminata, which is commonly called Cucumber- 
Tree, has been used, and we are told very advan- 
tageously, in rheumatic complaints.* The bark of 
^ the root of the Magnolia grandiflora, sometimes 

^ called Tulip-tree, is used in Florida, in combination 

with the Snake-root, as a substitute to the Peruvian 
^ bark, in the treatment of intermittent fevers. The 

flowers of the Magnolia tripetala, or Umbrella-tree, 
have a very powerful smell. They often induce 
nausea and head-ache. 

I AM inclined to think that the Cortex Angus- 
turae, which has lately been introduced into medical 

*Scc Dr. Dancan'8 Medical Commentaries, for the year 1793. Vol. 
xviii. p. 445. 

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practice, and is so greatly celebrated as a tonic, by 
the practitioners of Britain, is the bark of some 
species of Magnolia. 

The Liriodendron Tulipifera, well known in the 
United-States, by the names of Tulip-Tree, Pop- 
lar, White- Wood, &c. is very closely allied, by its 
botanical character, to the Magnolias. They both 
belong to the same class of the sexual system, and 
both, I believe, possess nearly the same properties. 
The bark of the Liriodendron is sometimes used in 
intermittents. Many persons are of opinion, that 
in this case, it is but little inferior to the Peruvian 
bark. I have never employed it. 

The bark of the Populus tremula? or Aspin? 
has likewise been used in cases of intermittent fe- 
vers. This is a powerful tonic, and deserves the 
attention of the American physician. It has been 
found very useful, as a stomachic, in the diseases 
of our horses. 

The Snake-root, the Aristolochia Serpentaria, 
is one of the more stimulating tonic bitters. It is 
certainly a valuable medicine, in the second stage of 
certain fevers, after the inflammatory diathesis has 
been removed. It was used with great benefit, in 
a most malignant fever, attended with carbuncles, 


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which prevailed at Bristol, on the Delaware, in 
this state, in the years 1749 and 1753. Another 
species of this genus, the Aristolochia sipho of 
L'Heritier, grows in the neighbourhood of Pitts- 
burg, and in other parts of the United-States. 
This is a large, climbing plant The root has a 
pungent, aromatic taste, and for certain purposes 
is perhaps preferable to the common Snake-root. 

I SHALL conclude this subject of tonics by observ- 
ing, that we possess a good many of the bitter plants 
of Europe, which have long claimed the attention of 
physicians. Our Gentians have not been carefully 
examined. We have one species which appears 
to be equal to any of the officinal kinds yet known. 

Sect. III. 

The class of Stimulants, or Incitants, is 
so very extensive, that in order to exhibit a metho- 
dical or natural medical arrangement of these arti- 
cles, it would be necessary to consider them under 
a number of diflferent heads, or sections. But this, 
in such a sketch as I oflfer you, does not appear 
necessary. I shall content myself, therefore, with 
speaking of a few of our native stimulant vegeta- 

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bles, under the two heads of such as are more 
general, and such as are more partial, or topical, 
in their operation. 

General Stimulants- 

I THINK that many of our dififerent balsamic pro- 
ducts may, with propriety, be considered under the 
head of General Stimulants, though they are 
certainly not the most diflfusible articles of this class. 
Such is the resin of the Populus balsamifera, called 
Balsam, or Tacamahaca-Tree. This is a native of 
North-America and of Siberia. The resin is pro- 
cured from the leaf-buds. This balsam is so very 
penetrating, that it communicates its peculiar smell 
and taste to the flesh of certain birds which feed 
upon the buds. It was formerly supposed, that the 
Tacamahaca of the shops was the produce of this 
tree. But it seems more probable that it is the 
produce of the Fagara octandra. 

The gum-resin which exudes from the Sweet- 
gum, or Maple-leaved Liquidambar-Tree, the Li- 
quidambar Styraciflua of Linnaeus, deserves to be 
mentioned. The storax of the shops is thought to 
be the produce of this tree : but perhaps this point 
is not yet quite ascertained. I am informed that 
the produce of our tree has been used, with advan- 


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tage, in diarrheas. Some of our southern Indians 
mix the dried leaves with tobacco, for smoking. 

To the head of stimulants I have no hesitation 
in referring a number of poisonous vegetables, 
with the properties of which we are not so well 
acquainted as we ought to be. Such are the Datu- 
ra Stramonium, or James-town-weed, the Cicuta 
maculata, &c. 

The Datura is one of our most common plants. 
It is certainly a medicine possessed of useful powers. 
The properties of this vegetable have lately been 
more satisfactorily investigated by one of our mem- 
bers, Dr. Samuel Cooper. 

We have several native plants of the natural 
order umbelliferae. That described by the late Dr. 
James Greenway, under the name of Cicuta vene- 
nosa, should be carefully investigated. This, from 
his account, must either be a direct sedative, or a 
stimulant, whose first operation is very soon accom- 
plished. It kills without inducing pain or convul- 
sions. Perhaps the plant with which some of our 
Indians, when weary of life, destroy themselves, is 
the same. It grows in meadows, and has a root 
like a parsnip. 

Before I take leave of these poisonous plants, I 
may mention some others whose properties are but 

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little known. The first is the Rhododendron max- 
imum, or Pennsylvania Mountain-Laurel. This is 
certainly a poison. It is a species of the same 
genus as the Rhododendron Crysanthmum, which 
has lately acquired much reputation in the cure of 
chronic rheumatism. 

Nearly allied to the Rhododendron is the genus 
Kalmia. Of this we have several species, and all 
of them are poisons. The Kalmia latifolia, or 
Broad-leaved Laurel, is best known to us. It kills 
sheep and other animals. Our Indians sometimes 
use a decoction of it to destroy themselves. In the 
county of Lancaster, an empiric has used the pow- 
dered leaves with success in certain stages of fevers, 
and in tinea capitis. A decoction of the plant ex- 
ternally applied has often cured the itch; but it 
must be used with great care, for thus applied it 
has been known to occasion disagreeable subsultus, 
or startings, and convulsions. I have given the 
powder of this plant internally in a case of fever, 
and have thus, at least, ascertained that it may be 
used with safety. 

The medical properties of our different species 
of Andromeda and Azalea, which in botanical char- 
acter are very nearly akin to the Rhododendron and 
Kalmia, are but little known to me. I have long 
suspected that they are poisons. A decoction of 

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the Andromeda Mariana has been found useful as a 
wash in a disagreeable ulceration of the feet, which 
is not uncommon among the slaves, &c. in the 
southern states. 

The Gaultheria procumbens, which we call 
Mountain-Tea, is spread very extensively over the 
more barren, mountainous parts of the United- 
States. It belongs to the same class as the plants 
just mentioned. I have made use of a strong infu- 
sion of this plant, which is evidently possessed of 
a stimulant and anodyne quality. I am told it has 
been found an useful medicine in cases of asthma. 
But I have not learned to what particular forms of 
this disease it is best adapted, nor in what manner 
it operates. 

Our native species of Laurus deserve to be in- 
vestigated. The Camphor and the Cinnamon be- 
long to this genus: but hitherto, they have not 
been discovered within the limits of the United- 
States. The properties of the Common Sassafras, 
which is a species of Laurus, have not been suffici- 
ently examined. It is the Laurus Sassafras of the 
botanists. I have already mentioned the bark. Its 
oil seems to be an useful medicine. I have been as- 
sured that this oil has been found an efficacious me- 
dicine, externally applied in cases of wens. This 
looks probable ; for our medicine is nearly allied to 
camphor, which has been used with advantage in 

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bronchocele.* I knew a woman in whom an in- 
fusion or tea of the root of the Sassafras always 
induced an oppression at breast, with sighing, and 
depression of spirits. 

During the late American war, necessity drove 
the inhabitants, in many parts of the United-States, 
to seek for a substitute for some of the spices to 
which they had been accustomed. They used the 
dried and powdered berries of the Laurus Benzoin, 
which we call Spice- Wood, and Wild-Alspice-Bush, 
and found them a tolerable substitute for alspice.f 

The celebrated Gynseng, or Panax quinquefoli- 
um, may, with propriety, be thrown into the 
class of stimulants. I find it difficult to speak of 
this plant with any degree of certainty. If it were 
not a native of our woods, it is probable that we 
should import it, as we do the teas of China and 
Japan, at a high price. 

The Eryngium aquaticum, or Water-Eryngo, is 
one of the stimulants which more especially act 
as sudorific. It is nearly allied in its qualities to 

* The oil rubbed upon the head has been found very useful in killing 
lice. The bark« especially that of the root, powdered and mixed with 
pomatum, has the same effect. 

t'*A decoction of the small twigs makes an agreeable drink in slow 
fevers, and is much used by the country people. It is said the Indians 
esteemed it highly for its medicinal virtues/' Reverend Dr. M. Cutler. 

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the contrayerva of the shops. It is one of the 
medicines of our southern Indians. They use the 

Among the more acrid stimulants of our country, 
I may mention the Arum Virginicum, or Indian- 
Turnip, as it is most commonly called. I could 
wish that the properties of this plant were examined 
with attention. The leaves of a plant a good deal 
allied to this, I mean the Dracontium pertusum of 
the botanists, are employed, by the Indians of De- 
merara, in a very singular manner, in the treat- 
ment of general dropsy. The whole body of the 
patient is covered with the leaves. An universal 
sweat, or rather vescication, is induced, and the 
patient often recovers. Perhaps it would be worth 
trying this practice in cases of anasarca, which have 
resisted the usual modes of treatment.* 

Topical Stimulants. 

By the Topical Stimulants, I mean those ar- 
ticles which more especially increase the action or 
living powers of the parts to which they are applied, 
and which, at the same time, generally produce a 

* This fact was communicated to me by my friend the late Mr. Julius 
Von Rohr, a gentleman whose death is a real loss to natural science, and 
perhaps an irreparable loss to the interests of an it^ured and distressed 
pcut of mankind ; I mean the blacks. 

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discharge of fluid from the part. The Cantharis is H 

one of these articles: but of this, as an animal ^ 

body, and not a native, I have nothing to say. j 


The bark of our White- Walnut, or Butternut, 
the Juglans cinerea of Wangenheim, is a pretty 
efficacious blister. The bark of the root is more 
powerful than that of the stem or branches. It 1 

has been applied with advantage, as a blister, to 1 

the bite of some of our venomous serpents. '^j 

I BELIEVE the bark of our Moose-wood, or ] 

Leather-wood, the Dirca palustris of Linnseus, is ^ 

also a blister. This plant, by its botanical habit, 
is nearly allied to the genus Daphne, all the spe- 
cies of which are blisters ; especially the Daphne 
Gnidium. ^ 

Some of our Indians make use of a plant, which, 
when mashed a little, induces nearly as good a 
blister as the cantharides. It has been used with 
advantage in sciatica. I do not know this plant. 


The Ranunculus sceleratus, or Celery-leaved ^ 

Crowfoot, is a very acrid plant. If it be bruised, 

and laid upon any part of the body, it will, in a ^ 

few hours time, raise a blister. This plant is a na- i 

tive of Etirope and of America. The Ranunculus 
bulbosus, called Bulbous Crowfoot, and Butter- 

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cups, possess the same properties. This plant 
grows very plentifully in our meadows and fields; 
but I believe it is not a native. 

To this head of topical stimulants, I may refer 
several species of the genus Rhus, or Sumac ; par- 
ticularly the Rhus radicans, or Poison-vine; the 
Rhus Vemix, or Vemice-tree ; and the Rhus Toxi- 
codendron, or Poison-oak. In many persons they 
induce a peculiar and very troublesome vescication, 
which I have frequently removed, in a short time, 
by means of a mercurial wash. These plants are 
more active in the southern than in the northern 
climates. They more readily poison immediately 
after than before a full meal. Their stimulant eflFect 
is extended beyond the skin. It is said that the bark 
of one species (but I cannot tell you what species), 
has been found useful in intermittents. 


I HAVE but little to say under the head of Err- 
HiNES, or Sternutatory Medicines. Our na- 
tive vegetables of this class, with the exception 
of the Tobacco, are but littie known to me. Of 
the Tobacco, as being so well known to you all, 
I need say nothing. 

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Thr brown powder which is attached to the 
footstalks of the leaves of the Andromeda, the 
Kalmia, and the Rhododendron, formerly menti- 
oned to you, is considerably errhine. The powder 
about the seeds in the seed-vessels of the same 
vegetables, possesses a similar quality. Whether 
this powder may be advantageously employed in 
practice I cannot say. 

We have many native species of the genus Eu- 
phorbia, or Spurge. There can be little doubt, 
that some of them are sternutative. 


The number of Salivating Medicines is, 
I believe, much greater than has been commonly 
imagined. Perhaps, there are but few of the 
Incitant medicines which may not be so managed 
as to salivate. Opium, camphor, and hemloc* 
all induce salivation. 

I AM but little acquainted with our indigenous 
salivating vegetables. The Seneca Snake-root has 
long since been observed to possess this property. 

^Coninm maculatum. 


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The Zanthoxylum Clava Herculis, or Ash-leaved 
Tooth-ach-Tree, is a very powerful stimulant. Ap- 
plied to the mouth and internal fauces, it occasions 
a copious flow of saliva. By this property it appears 
to be a good deal allied to the Pyrethrum, Cochle- 
aria, &c. I am informed that our plant is not merely 
an external sialagogue, but that even when taken 
into the stomach, it exerts its effects upon the sali- 
vary glands. I speak of the bark of the plant: 
but the seed-vessels have the same property. This 
medicine has been given internally in cases of 


Among the indigenous vegetables of our coun- 
try, there are several which are entitied to your 
attention as Emetics. Such are the Euphorbia 
Ipecacuanha, the Spiraea trifoliata, the Asarum 
Canadense, &c. 

The first of these, the Euphorbia Ipecacuanha, 
like all the species of the genus, is an extremely 
active plant. It is employed as an emetic by some 
of the country-people. I do not know the dose. I 
suppose it is small, for it belongs to the head of 
drastic emetics. I am not certain that it would be 
a valuable addition to the materia medica; but, 
perhaps, it would. There are many cases in which 

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we have occasion to make use of immediate and 
active emetics; as when certain poisons, such as 
laudanum, &c. have been swallowed. In such 
cases it may possibly be of much use. 

I CAN speak with more confidence of the Spiraea 
trifoliata. This is a shrub, which grows very plen- 
tifully in various parts of the United-States. It is 
one of the few active plants of the class Icosafidria^ 
to which it belongs. The root, which is the part 
made use of, like that of the officinal ipecacuanha, 
consists of a cortex or bark, and a ligneous or 
woody part. The active 'power of the root seems 
to reside exclusively in the bark. It is a safe and 
efficacious emetic, in doses of about thirty grains. 
Along with its emetic, it seems to possess a tonic 
power. It has accordingly been thought peculiarly 
beneficial in the intermittent fever, and it is often 
given to horses to mend their appetite. This plant 
has a number of diflFerent names, such as Ipecacu- 
anha, Indian-Physic, Bowman's Root, &c. 

We have several species of the genus Asarum, 
or Asarabacca. I am best acquainted with the 
Asarum Canadense, which is well known by the 
name of Wild-Ginger. In Virginia it is called 
Coltsfoot. Both the root and leaves may be used. 
The expressed juice of the fresh leaves is a pow- 
erful emetic. 

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t monium. 

( 28 ) 

Some of our Indians also prepare an emetic from 
the bark of a certain vine, which a good deal resem- 
bles the Celastrus scandens of Linnaeus. This vine 
bears bunches of red berries of a sweetish taste, but 
of a poisonous nature. I know nothing of this plant 
from my own experience; but a gentleman* who 
has used it prefers it to every other emetic. The 
Indians make a decoction of the bark. A large 
dose is required to produce the eflFect This is cer- 
tainly an objection against its use. 

A DECOCTION of the Eupatorium perfoliatum, or 
Thorough-wort, is also emetic. I might have ob- 
served, that this plant is used by our Indians as a 
medicine in intermittent fevers. 

The root of the Sanguinaria Canadensis f has 
been mentioned to me as an emetic. I know no- 
thing particular of this property of the plant. I 
should have observed, under the head of General 
Stimulants, that the seeds appear to possess nearly 
the same quality as the seeds of the Datura Stra- 

I HAVE been assured, that the Six-Nations make 
use of at least twelve or fourteen different emetics. 

♦ Mr. John Heckewelder. 

t Called, in the United-States, Indian«Paint, Puccoon, Turmeric, &c. 

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We have many indigenous Cathartics. Some 
of them are well worthy of your attention. These 
may be divided into two kinds, the milder, and the 
more drastic. 

Among the more mild, I may mention the Tri- 
osteum perfoliatum, sometimes called Bastard-Ipe- 
cacuanha. This, when given in very large doses, 
sometimes proves emetic; hence the vulgar name. 
But I find it a good cathartic. The cortex, or 
bark, of the root is employed. I give it in doses of 
twenty and thirty grains. On some occasions, it has 
seemed to operate as a diuretic. But this may have 
been only an accidental circumstance. Rhubarb 
sometimes produces the same eflFect, as has been 
observed by C. Piso. 


All them, except the sulphat of iron, are vegeta- 
bles. It is probable that the Spiraea, Euphorbia 
Ipecacuanha, &c. are among the number of these ^ 

vegetable emetics. i^ 

I SHALL conclude this subject of emetics by y 

recommending to your attention an examination of ^^ ^ • 

the properties of some of our native species of Viola, ^ 

or Violet. I suspect it will be found, that the roots V 

of some of these are endued with an usefiil emetic 

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Nearly allied to the Triosteum, I mean in its 
' / properties, is the Asclepias decumbens. This is one 

of our most beautiful and common plants. It has 

received many vulgar names, such as Pleurisy-root, 

Flux-root, Butterfly- weed, &c. It has been much 

/* , celebrated in Virginia, as a remedy in dysentery. I 

J have used it, and I think with advantage. I believe 

'-^^ it does good principally by its purgative quality. 

- / The dose is from twenty to thirty grains of the 

root in powder. A great deal has been said about 
' the virtue of this vegetable in pleurisy. - 


^ The powder of this Asclepias is escarotic, and has 

been found useful in restraining fungous flesh in ul- 
f cers. I believe this, and not the Poke, as has been . 

supposed, is the plant which is employed by our 
southern Indians in cases of venereal chancre. 



The dried fruit of our Papaw, or Custard-apple, 
the Annona triloba of Linnaeus, is likewise pur- 
gative. I can say nothing of it from my own 

I KNOW nothing, from experience, of the Mecha- 
meck^ or Wild-Rhubarb, of some of our Indians. It 
is, certainly, a species of Convolvulus, or Bind-weed, 
and I believe the Convolvulus panduratus, which 
in Virginia is called "wild potatoe." Its name 
Wild-Rhubarb, implies that it is a purgative. An 

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extract but little, if any thing inferior to the Scam- 
mony of the shops, has been procured from one of 
our species of Convolvulus. One must have a good 
deal of medical faith to believe what Catesby has 
said concerning the remarkable power of the 
Convolvulus purpureus, or Purple-Bindweed.* 

More active than any of the native purgatives 
which I' have mentioned is the Podophyllum pel- 
tatum of Linnaeus. This is a very common plant 
through the whole of the United-States, and in 
other parts of North-America. It is known by a 
variety of names, such as May-apple, Mandrake, 
Ipecacuanha, Wild-lemons, &c. The fruit is es- 
culent, and by many persons is thought delicious. 
The leaves are poisonous. — It is the root which is 
used in practice. In doses of twenty grains, it is 
an excellent cathartic. It has some advantages 
over the rhubarb and jallap. It is most advanta- 
geously used in combination with calomel, or the 
crystals of tartar. I have heard much of the vir- 
tues of an extract prepared of this root ; but have 
never used it. 

There is a plant which was thought by Linnaeus 
to be a species of the same genus. He called it 
Podophyllum diphyllum. I have shown, that it is 

* The Natural History of Carolina, &c. Vol. i. p. 35. 

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a new genus.* I have not been able to collect a 
sufficient quantity of this to ascertain its powers; 
but, judging by the taste and smell, which it must 
be confessed are sometimes fallacious tests, I sus- 
pect its root possesses the virtues of the May-Apple, 
or Podophyllum peltatum. 

The Cassia Marilandica, one of our finest plants, 
belongs to the same genus as the senna of the shops. 
The American species possesses nearly the same 
virtues as the eastern species. It is used as a pur- 
gative in diflFerent parts of the United-States. 

An extract prepared from the inner bark of the 
Juglans cinerea, or Butternut-Walnut, has long 
been used as a purgative in the United-States. It is 
a valuable medicine. As it is often, however, very 
carelessly prepared by the country-people, it has 
gone into some kind of neglect. It ought to be 
prepared by the better informed apothecaries, and 
have a place in the Pharmacopoeia of this country, 


The dose of this extract is from ten to thirty 
grains. I have thought it possesses something of 
an anodyne property. 

I HAVE been told, that some of our Indians use as 
a cathartic a decoction of the bark of the root of 

* See TranMctioiit of the American Philosophical Society. Vol. ni. 
No. XLI. 

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( 33 ) 

the Dirca palustris, or Leather-wood, already men- 
tioned to you. Of this property of the Dirca I 
know nothing farther. 

The decoction or powder of the root of the Poly- 
gala Senega, or Seneca Snake-root, is also a pur- 
gative. Dr. CuUen, indeed, thinks its purgative 
is its most striking property, and therefore he ar- 
ranges it under his head of cathartics.* 

Some of our native species of Iris, or Flag, are 
powerful cathartics. Such are the Iris versicolor 
and the Iris vema. They are both used by our 
southern Indians.f I can say nothing certain con- 
cerning the dose of these vegetables. It is doubtless 
small, for they are very active plants. Several of the 
European species of Iris are irritating cathartics. 

A SPECIES of Croton, or perhaps of Stillingia, is 
used in the southern states, as a cathartic. It enters 
into the composition of a medicine which has ac- 
quired much celebrity in the cure of that hideous 
disease the Frambaesia, or Yaws. This plant grows 

* " I have put it into the caUlogne of purgatiTes, as this is the only 
operation of it that is constantly very evident; and perhaps all its other 
virtues .depend upon this.*' A Treatise of the Materia Medica. Vol. n. 
p. 533. Bdinburgh: 1789, quarto. 

Mr. William Bartram. 

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spontaneously on the dry, high lands of Carolina, 
Georgia, and Florida. It is called Yaw-weed, and 
Cock-up-Hat The Stillingia sylvatica, perhaps 
the very plant I have been speaking of, is said to be 
a specific in the venereal disease.* 


Diuretics have so long been employed with be- 
nefit, in the treatment of dropsies, that it becomes a 
matter of consequence to increase the number of the 
medicines of this class, and to learn how to exhibit, 
with more advantage, those which are already 
known. I do not mean by this observation to assert, 
that dropsies cannot be cured without the use of di- 
uretic medicines. On the contrary, I am persuaded 
that they can, and often are, especially when the 
dropsy depends upon fever, or is connected with it. 
But in the management of all kinds of dropsies, it 
is often necessary to have recourse to the use of diu- 
retics, and I believe that some of the worst forms of 
this disease, such as hydrothorax, are most eflFectu- 
ally cured by these medicines. The Digitalis pur- 
purea, so much and so justly celebrated at present, 
is not, to my knowledge, a native of any part of 

* Bernard Romans sajrs, the Jallap grows wild near Pensacola, in 

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America.* But we have several native diuretics, 
which deserve the attention of our physicians. Such 
are the Seneca-Snake-root, the Lobelia siphilitica, 
the Serratula spicata, the Cassena, and others. 

The first of these, the Polygala Senega of the 
botanists, along with its diuretic, possesses an emetic, 
cathartic, expectorant, salivating, and diaphoretic 
power. I have already hinted at its salivating and 
cathartic operation. As a diuretic, it has been 
employed, and found useful, in dropsy, by Tennent, 
Bouvart, and other writers. I am informed that it 
has lately been used, with great success, in the 
treatment of the cynanche trachealis, or croup, by 
Dr. Archer of Maryland. He uses a strong de- 
coction of the root, which operates as an emetic, 
cathartic, and expectorant-f This medicine some- 
times operates so powerfully as a sudorific, that I 
have been assured it has been known to remove por- 
tions of the mucous body, or rete mucosum, from 

* This plant, however, bears extremely well the open ground of Penn- 

t There is a species, or rather variety, of croup, which I have some- 
times called the Bronchial Hives. In this there does not appear to be any 
reason to suspect the existence of a preternatural membrane in the trachea: 
but the disease depends upon the presence of large quantities of mucus, 
which exists in a loose state in the ramifications of the trachea. I believe 
this species is much more common than the other, which might be called 
Cynanche trachealis coriacea. In the bronchial hives, I have found strong 
coffee of evident use: but the disease often requires a much more active 
treatment. The Seneca should have a trial. 

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the skin of blacks who have used it I do not vouch 
for the truth of this fact: but I must confess that 
to me the circumstance does not seem improbable. 
Our Indians use a decoction of this root in syphilis. 
I have no confidence in the powers which have been 
ascribed to the Seneca, in curing the bite of the rattle- 
snake. Besides the Polygala Senega, we have se- 
veral other native species of this genus. I do not 
know how far they possess the powers which have 
been ascribed to the Seneca itself. It is probable 
that they only diflFer in degree. Kiemander, a long 
time ago, remarked that the Polygala vulgaris, 
which grows spontaneously in Europe, possesses, 
though in a less eminent degree, the virtues of the 
celebrated American species.* 

The Lobelia siphilitica is also considerably diure- 
tic. This plant was purchased from the northern 
Indians, by the late Sir William Johnson, as a rem- 
edy in the venereal disease: hence its specific name, 
siphilitica. I do not believe, after paying some at- 
tention to the subject, that this plant has cured con- 
firmed syphilis. I know that the Indians, even 
those who are best acquainted with the plant, are 
glad to have an opportunity of applying to the 
whites for relief, when they have the disease. They 
certainly do not trust the cure entirely to the Lobe- 

* See his paper, entitled Radix Senega, in the second volume of the 
Amoenitates Academics. 

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lia. They use the bark of the wild cherry (Prunus 
Virginiana), the root of the May-apple (Podophyl- 
lum peltatum), and many other plants.* I believe, 
however, that the Lobelia has been of service in the 
disease. In gonorrhea it has certainly performed a 
cure; but the tendency of the constitution, unaided 
by medicines, to get rid of this complaint, is well 
known. I may here observe, that gonorrhea ap- 
pears to be much more common among the Indians 
than syphilis. The Lobelia seems to operate chiefly 
by its diuretic quality. From their ignorance of 
botany, many persons in the western country have 
been using a plant, which they call Lobelia, in the 
same complaints. I have received specimens of the 
plant under the name of Lobelia. It proves to be 
the Serratula spicata, or Spiked Saw-wort. There 
is good reason to believe, that it has been found use- 
ful, not only in venereal complaints, but also in 
cases of nephritis calculosa, or gravel. Thus igno- 
rance sometimes leads to knowledge. This sup- 
posed Lobelia is a powerful diuretic. The Indians 
sometimes drink the decoction of it so strong that 
it occasions gleets, f It is the root of the plant 

* I do not believe that the disease of Sjrphilis was known among the 
North-American Indians before they became acquainted with the whites. 
Mr. John Heckewelder informs me, that the Indians speak of it as a 
foreign disease communicated by the whites. 

t They cure these gleets by eating turpentine, as I am informed by 
Colonel Winthrop Sargent. An old Indian assured this gentleman, that 

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which is commonly employed, but the flowers and 
the leaves may also be used. ^ 

An infusion of another species of Lobelia, I be- 
lieve the Lobelia inflata, has been found very useful 
in the leucorrhoea, or whites. It is a lactescent, and 
very active plant. I do not know that this acts as 
a diuretic, and it would have been more proper 
to have mentioned the plant under the head of 

The Cassena is a species of Ilex, or Holly. It is 
the Ilex vomitoria of Alton, and is a native of Ca- 
rolina, West-Florida, &c. It has been called 
South-Sea-tea, or Evergreen Cassine. It is thought 
to be one of the most powerful diuretics hitherto 
discovered. It is held in great esteem among the 
southern Indians. They toast the leaves and make 
a decoction of them. It is the men alone that are 

a decoction of this Serratula cures syphilis in all its forms. Dr. Allison, 
one of the army-physicians, has an high opinion of the plant, in this disease. 
I am told Dr. Bedford, of Pittsburg, has found it an efficacious medicine in 
the gravel. It certainly ought to have a fair trial in these diseases. The 
late Major Jonathan Hart assured me, that the Indians northwest of the 
Ohio could not cure confirmed syphilis. He said the I«obelia (I suppose the 
Serratula spicata) had been of service in slight cases : but he was persuaded 
that the Indians would fall victims to the general complaint, if they were 
to trust wholly to their own remedies. A Mr. Wilson, who is well ac- 
quainted with the Indians, particularly the Delawares and Shawneese, 
most confidently asserts, that they cannot cure the venereal disease, 
** when it gets into the blood ;" but that they can cure the gonorrhea. He 
also said, they can remove the venereal disease for a time, but *' that it 
will break out again." 

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permitted to drink this decoction, which is called 
Black Drink. 

The Medeola Virginica grows plentifully in the 
vicinity of this city, and in almost every other part 
of the United-States. Its root is white, and tastes 
a good deal like the cucumber, which has given the 
plant the name of Cucumber-root. I am told that 
this root is diuretic, and has cured dropsies. The 
sensible qualities of the plant do not promise 
much; but this does not prove that it is not an 
useful medicine. 


Of the class of medicines called Anthelmin- 
tics, or destroyers and expellers of worms, we 
. have several which are entitled to your notice. One 
of the most celebrated of these is the Carolina Pink- 
root, the Spigelia Marilandica of Linnseus. This is 
a very common plant in our southern states. It is a 
valuable medicine, as has been demonstrated by the 
physicians of Europe and of this country. It is 
commonly given in the form of an infusion, or tea; 
but I prefer the exhibition of it in powder. It has 
been accused of occasioning, for a short time, a dis- 
agreeable affection of the eyes. But this effect may 
often be prevented by combining with the Spigelia 
some of the common Virginia Snake-root. The 

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Cheerake-Indians have so high an opinion of this 
plant, that it would sometimes be dangerous for a 
person to be detected in digging it up, to carry it out 
of the country. The whites learned the anthelmin- 
tic powers of this vegetable from the Indians. The 
Spigelia is said to possess other valuable properties. 
Infused in wine, it has been found an useful medi- 
cine in intermittent fevers. But I can say nothing 
particular concerning the precise mode of admi- 
nistering it in this case. 

The Chenopodium anthelminticum grows plenti- 
fully in the United-States. It is commonly called 
Worm-seed. The whole plant has a most powerful 
smell, of which it is very retentive. The taste is 
bitter, with a good deal of aromatic acrimony. 

The root of the May-apple (Podophyllum pel- 
tatum), which I have mentioned to you under the 
head of cathartics, has often been found to operate 
as an anthelmintic. It is used as such by the Chee- 
rake, and other southern Indians. Whether it ope- 
rates by its cathartic quality exclusively, or partly 
by some other quality, deleterious to the worms, I 
cannot say. The whites learned from the Indians 
the anthelmintic power of this plant.* 

* The best time for gathering the may-apple, for medical purposes, is 
the autumn, when the leaves have turned yellow, and are about faUing 
off. The Indians dry it in the shade, and powder it for use. 

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The Helleborus foetidus, or Stinking Hellebore, 
has been mentioned as a powerful anthelmintic, by 
Bisset, and other European writers. It has been 
used in this country, and has been found very effi- 
cacious. It is supposed to have been the worm- 
medicine of a Dr. Witt, who acquired much repu- 
tation by the use of it.* 

The Cheerake use a decoction of the root of the 
beautiful Lobelia Cardinalis, or Cardinal-Flower, as 
a remedy against worms. I have already mentioned 
the diuretic quality of another species of this genus, 
the Lobelia siphilitica. 

The seeds of the Common Tobacco (Nicotiana 
Tabacum) have also been found useful as an an- 

The Silene Virginica, or Ground-Pink, as it is 
called in some parts of our country, is another 
native anthelmintic. A decoction of the root is 
used, and is said to have been found a very effica- 
cious remedy, f 


* I am indebted to Dr. Adam Kuhn for this information. He says 
that Witt uacd the powder of the leaves in combination with the ethiops 

t Prom the information of my friend the late Dr. Jamea Greenway, 
of Virginia. 

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I HAVE not lost all confidence in the anthelmin- 
tic powers ascribed to the Polypodium vulgare, or 
Male-Fern. I do suppose, however, that too much 
has been ascribed to this plant. We have several 
native species of this genus, which it would, at 
least, be a matter of curiosity to examine. The 
Polypodium Virginianum grows about this city, 
and probably possesses the same powers as the 
European species. 

A PLANT, called the ** Pride of India,'* has lately 
been mentioned as an excellent anthelmintic. The 
bark of the root has been used as such in South- 
Carolina. This vegetable, the Melia Azedarach of 
Linnaeus, is not a native of our country.* 

I SHAiyi. conclude this account of anthelmintics 
by observing that the southern Indians dress all 
their dishes, prepared of the Indian-corn, or maize, 
(Zea Mays) with a strong lixivium, or lye, of the 
ashes of bean-stalks and other vegetables, in order 
to prevent the generation of worms. They are of 
opinion that this grain nourishes the worms ex- 
ceedingly. Nor is this opinion peculiar to the In- 

<■ Mr. Andrew Michaux informed me, that in Persia, where this plant 
jH'Ows spontaneously, the pulp which invests the stone of the seed is 
pounded with tallow, and used as an " antisphoric," in cases of tinea 
capitis in children. 

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I HAVE thus, Gentlemen, endeavored to present 
you with a specimen, or rather rude outline, of an 
Essay towards a Materia Medica of the United- 
States. My object has been a collection of facts. 
I could have wished for more leisure to have pursued 
the subject: but that leisure I do not possess. I 
hope, however, that with all its imperfections, I 
have presented you with a sketch which will not 
prove unacceptable to you. I have opened a path 
which deserves to be trod by you all. 

The man who discovers one valuable new medi- 
cine is a more important benefactor to his species 
than Alexander, Caesar, or an hundred other con- 
querors. Even his glory, in the estimation of a 
truly civilized age, will be greater, and more last- 
ing, than that of these admired ravagers of the 
world. I will venture to go farther. All the 
splendid discoveries of Newton are not of so much 
real utility to the world as the discovery of the Pe- 
ruvian bark, or of the powers of opium and mer- 
cury in the cure of certain diseases. If the distance 
of time, or the darkness of history, did not prevent 
us from ascertaining who first discovered the proper- 
ties of the Poppy, that " sweet oblivious antidote" for 
alleviating pain, and for soothing, while the mem- 
ory remains, those rooted sorrows which disturb our 
happiness; if we could tell who first discovered the 
mighty strength of Mercury in strangling the hydra 

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of pleasures and of generation; if we could even 
ascertain who was the native of Peru, that first 
experienced and revealed to his countrymen the 
powers of the Bark in curing intermittent fevers; 
would not the civilized nations of mankind, with 
one accord, concur in erecting durable monuments 
of granite and of brass to such benefactors of the 
species? Would not even the savage, who wants 
not a sense of benefits conferred upon him, be seen 
to form the tumulus of stones, or to raise the green 
sod, the only monuments his humble condition 
would admit of his erecting? And may we not yet 
look for the discovery of medicines as important to 
mankind as opium, the bark, and mercury? 

For this purpose, the discovery of new and valua- 
ble medicines, your situation. Gentlemen, (I address 
myself at present, more especially to the younger 
part of my audience) ; for this purpose, your situa- 
tion is peculiarly happy. In the pursuit of one 
of the most dignified and most useful of all the 
sciences, you are placed in an extensive country, 
the productions of which have never been investi- 
gated with accuracy, or with zeal. Prom this 
school, I will venture to call it the punctum saliens 
of the science of our country, you are to spread 
yourselves over the happiest and one of the fairest 
portions of the world. In whatever part of this vast 
continent you may be placed, you will find an abun- 


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dant field of new and interesting objects to reap in. 
The volume of nature lies before you: it has hardly 
yet been opened: it has never been perused. But 
by your assistance, the knowledge of the natural 
productions of our country may be greatly extended, 
and travellers shall then no longer upbraid us with 
an utter ignorance of the treasures which an all- 
benevolent Providence has so largely bestowed 
upon us. May I not flatter myself that among the 
number of those whom I am now addressing, there 
are some of you for whom medical discoveries of 
importance are reserved? discoveries which would 
add a lustre to your names, whilst they would en- 
sure to you that which is much more to be desired, 
in this mixed scene of affairs, an happiness that is 
imbosomed in the happiness of one's country, and 
the world. 

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X AGE 14. " I am well acquainted with a physician," 
&c. The room in which the flowers of the Magnolia 
glauca produced the eff*ects here mentioned, was not a 
small one, and was well aired. It was in the month 
of June. 

I ought to have observed, under the head of Tonics, 
that the Menyanthes trifoliata, or Marsh-Trefoil and 
Bog-bean of the English, is a native of our country. It 
grows spontaneously in Pennsylvania. This is cer- 
tainly an active plant, and if we can depend upon the 
half of what has been said of its virtues, it deserves a 
place in the Pharmacopoeia of every country. 

Page 18. Dr. Samuel Cooper. See his valuable In- 
augural Dissertation on the Properties and Eff*ects of 
the Datura Stramonium, &c. Philadelphia: 1797. 

Page 18. Cicuta venenosa. In Virginia, this plant is 
called Wild-Carrot, Wild-Parsnip, Fever-Root, and 
Mock-Eel-root. See Transactions of the American 
Philosophical Society. Vol. iii. No. xxix. 

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Page 19. Kalmia latifolia. In South-Carolina, this 
beautiful shrub is called "Calico-Tree." 

Pages 19, 20. "A decoction of the Andromeda Mari- 
ana has been found useful as a wash, in a disagreeable ul- 
ceration of the feet, which is not uncommon among the 
slaves, &c. in the southern states/' This complaint is 
very common, particularly among the negroes and the 
poorer sort of white people, in Carolina, Georgia, &c. 
It is called " Toe-Itch and Ground-Itch." It is a kmd 
of ulcerous excoriation between the toes, sometimes ex- 
tending as high as the instep, and is attended with most 
intolerable itching. It is probably, in a great measure, 
the consequence of inattention to cleanliness. Is it 
occasioned by particular insects? Some persons, with 
whom I have conversed on the subject, are of opinion, 
that it is owing to the great warmth of the waters to the 
southward, in which the inhabitants are accustomed to 
wade a great deal. The disease is sometimes seen in 
Pennsylvania. Besides the Andromeda Mariana, or 
Broad-leaved Moor- wort, a decoction of the leaves of the 
Kalmia latifolia is used for the cure of this complaint. 
The decoction of the leaves of both these plants is used. 
They are both called " Wicke ** to the southward. 

Page 21. "I knew a woman," &c. She was a stout, 
and seemingly very hearty, woman. She informed me, 
that a lady of her acquaintance was aflFected in the 
same way by this tea. I could not learn whether the 
flowers of the Sassafras produced a similar effect. 

Page 24. Rhus, or Sumac. " It is -said that the bark 
of one species (but I cannot tell you what species) has 
been found useful in intermittents." Perhaps it is the 

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bark of the Rhus glabrum, or Smooth Pennsylvania Su- 
mac. In some parts of our country, this species is called 
" Indian Salt.** Was it used as a condiment to their food 
by the Indians? The berries of this species are used as 
a mordant, or fixer for the red colour with which they die 
their porcupine quills. They use other mordants for the 
same purpose. The juice of the Upland-Sumac (Rhus 
glabrum?) is said to be excellent for removing warts, 
and also tetters. It is applied to the affected parts. 

Page 27. ** The expressed juice of the fresh leaves " 
of the Asarum Canadense, "is a powerful emetic." I 
should have observed that the leaves are errhine. 
"Asari canadensis radices suaveolentes in petio vino 
fermentanti immersae, liquorem gratiorem reddunt." 
Comutus, as quoted by Schoepf, p. 73. 

Page 30. Asclepias decumbens. — ^The Asclepias de- 
cumbens, and the Asclepias tuberosa, of Linnaeus, ap- 
pear to me to be merely varieties of the same species. 
Dr. Schoepf (page 160) mentions a plant which he says 
is called in Maryland, Butterfly-root, and Pleurisy-root. 
He says he has not seen the plant; but that the name 
Butterfly-root seems to shew that it belongs to the class 
of Diadelphia. I suspect this plant is no other than the 
Asclepias decumbens. It is called Butterfly-weed, &c. 
because its flowers are often visited by the butterflies. 

Page 35. Polygala Senega. If this plant has been 
found so useful in pleurisy as it is said to have been, by 
Tennent, and other writers, I cannot suppose it has been 
in genuine inflammatory pleurisy, unless previously to 

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the exhibition of the medicine, the lancet has been liber- 
ally used. In the pleurisy, as it is called, which prevails 
in the low and marshy countries, it is not improbable it 
has been of real use. This is a true intermittent or re- 
mittent, attended with a local pain, either in the side, or 
in the head. When it is in the head, the disease is called 
(a ridiculous name) the pleurisy in the head. In either 
case, it is a complaint in which cordial medicines, and 
such the Seneca is, have been exhibited with advantage. 

Almost an hundred years ago, the Reverend Dr. Cot- 
ton Mather mentioned an American plant, called "Par- 
tridge-berries," as being excellent for curing dropsy. A 
decoction of the leaves is to be drank as a tea, for several 
days. It discharges, he says, a vast quantity of urine, as 
long as the disease lasts, " after which it may be drank 
without provoking urine observably. Gouty persons 
drink it with benefit."* I take the plant mentioned by 
Mather, to be the Mitchella repens of Linnaeus. This is 
a very common plant in every part of the United-States. 
In New-England, it is called Partridge-berry. Catesby 
has given tis a wretched figure of it. I know nothing 
of the powers of this plant. I could mention some of 
the superstitious notions of our Indians concerning it. 

Page 40. Chenopodium anthelminticum. This is 
also called Jerusalem-oak. It is the seeds that are used. 

*The Philosophical Transactioni, Abridged. Vol. V. Part ii. p. x6o. 


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Acrid Stimulants, aa 

Actaea ncemoaa, 9 

Acsculus flava, Alton, 13 

Aesculus Hippocastanum, 13 

Aetculus Pavia, L., 13 

Altpice, ai 

AUpice-bush, Wild, ax 

Alum-root 8 

American Sanide, 8 

Anasarca, aa 

Andromeda, X9» 35 

Andromeda Mariana, ao, 47 

AnguttursB Cortex, 14 

Annona triloba, L., 30 

Anodyne^ 32 

Anthelmintics, 39* 4^* 4* 

Antisphoric, 4t 

Apple, Costard, 30 

Arbutus uva ursi, 9 

Aristolochia Serpentaria, 15 

Aristolochia sipho, L*Ueritier, z6 

Arum Virginicum, aa 

Asarabacca, aj 

Asarum, 27 

Asarum Canadense, 36, 37, 48 

Asclepias decumbens, 30, 48 

Asclepias tuberosa, L., 48 

Ash-leaved Tooth-ach-tree, a6 

Aspin 15 

Asthma, ao 

Astringents, 7 

Axalea, 19 

Balsam Trbb, 17 

Bartram, William,i 5, 6, 33 

Bastard-Ipecacuanha, ag 

Beaver-tree, Z4 

Bind-weed, 30 

Bindweed, Purple, 31 

Bisset, Dr., 41 

Bitters, Tonic, 15 

Black Drink 39 

Black Snake-root, 9 

Blister, 33 

Bog-bean, 40 

Bowoian's Root, 37 

Broad-leaved laurel, 19 

Broad-leaved Moor-wort, 47 

Bronchial Hives, 35 

Bronchocele, ax 

Bulbous Crowfoot, 33 

Buttercups, a% 

Butter fly-root, 48 

Butterfly-weed 30. 48 

Butternut, 33 

Butternut-Walnut, 3a 

Calico-tkbb, 47 

Calomel, 31 

Camphor. ao, 35 

Canada distemper, za 

Cantharis, a3 

Carbuncles. 15 

Cardinal-Flower, 4z 

Carolina Pink-root, 39 

Carrot, Wild, 46 

Cassena, 35, 38 

( i 

Cassia Marilandica, 3a 

Cassine, Evergreen, 38 

Catesby^ 31 

Cathartics, 39, 35 

Celastrus scandens, L., al 

Celery-leaved Crowfoot 33 

Chancre, venereal. 30 

Chenopodium antnelminticum, ... 40, 49 

Cherry, Wild. 37 

Cholera of Cnildren, 7 

Cholic, Flatulent, la 

Cicuta maculata, 18 

Cicuu venenosa, 18, 36 

Cinnamon, ao 

Cochlearia, a6 

Cock-up-Hat, 34 

Coffee, 35 

Colufoot, t7 

Common Dogwood, zs 

Common Tobacco, •.•••. 4z 

Comptonia asplenifolia, Alton, zo 

Conium maculatum, »$ 

Convolvulus, 30, 3z 

Convolvulus panduratus, ........ 30 

Convolvulus purpureus, 3Z 

Convulsions, Z9 

Coooer', Dr. Samuel, xB, 46 

Cordial Medicines 49 

Cornus, za 

Cornus Canadensis, Z3 

Cornus circinata, Z3 

Cornus Florida zs 

Cornus sericea, za 

Cortex Angusturae, Z4 

Croton, 33 

Croup, 35 

Crowfoot, Bulbous, as 

Crowfoot, Celery-leaved, «3 

Crystals of tartar 3Z 

Cucumber-root, 39 

Cucumber-tree, Z4 

Cullen, Dr., 6, zo 

Custard-apple, 30 

Cusson, Dr., Z3 

Cutler, Rev. Dr. M., az 

Cynanche trachealis, 3s 

Cynanche trachealis coriacea, 35 

Daphnb 33 

Daphne Gnidium, ai 

Darwin, Dr., 6 

Datura Stramonium, z8, s8, 46 

Diaphoretic, 3< 

Diarrhea, to, z8 

Digitalis purpurea, 34 

Diospyros Virjpniana, zz 

Dirca palustns, L., *3» 33 

Distemper in horses, ta 

Diureucs •9> 34. 35* 37* 38* 39* 4« 

Dogwood, za 

Dogwood, common, za 

Dracontium pertusum, aa 

Drastic emetics, a6 

Dropsies 34. 39 

Dropsy, ««. 3S. 49 


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Dropsy, eenenJ, aa 

Duncan, Dr., 14 

Dysentery, 30 

Emktics 86, 97, 98, 99, 35, 48 

Errhines, 94i 48 

Eryngium aquaticum, ax 

EryngO( Water, 91 

Escarotic, 30 

Ethiops mineral, 41 

Eupatorium perfoliatum, 98 

Euphorbia, 95 

Euphorbia Ipecacuanha, 36, 90 

Evergreen Cassine, 38 

Expectorant, 35 

Facara octandra 17 

Fever-Root, 46 

Fevers, . . .^ "..... 15, 19 

Fevers, intermittent, . . xi, 18, 13, 97, 

a«. 40. 44 

Fever, maugnant, 19, 15 

Fever, paroxysm increased by odor of 

magnolia, 14 

Flag, 33 

Flatulent cholic, 19 

Flux-root^ 30 

Frambesia, 33 


Gaultheria procumbens, 90 

Gentians, xo, 16 

Geranium Maculatum, 7 

Geranium robertianum, 8 

Geranium, Spotted, 7 

Ginger, Wilcf, 97 

Gleets • • 37 

Gonorrhea, 9» 37i 3° 

Gout, 9* 49 

Gout, pain increased by odor of mag> 

nolia, X4 

Gravel 37» 3^ 

Greenway, Dr. James, x8, 4X 

Ground-itch, 47 

Gound-pink, 41 

Gum, Sweet, 17 

Gynseng, 9x 


Hart. Jonathan, Mi^or, 38 

Headache induced by Magnolia tnpe- 

tala, ^ X4 

Heckewelder, John, aS, 37 

Hellebore, Stinking, 4X 

Helleborus foetidus, 41 

Hemloc, 95 

Herb-Robert, 8 

Heuchera Americana, 8 

Hippocastanum, 13 

Hives, Bronchial, 35 

Holly, 38 

Horse chesnut, X3 

Hydrastis Canadensis, 8 

Ilex, 38 

Ilex vomitoria, Aiton, 38 

Incitants, x6 

India, Pride of, 49 

Indian corn, 6 

Indian-painty 98 

Indian-phsyic, 97 

Indian Salt, 48 

Indian-turnip, 99 

Inflammatory pleurisy, 48 

Intermittent fevers, . . . xx, xa, 14, 15, 

94, 97, 98, 40, 44, 48» 49 

Ipecacuanha, 37, 3X 

Jns 33 

Ins verna, 33 

Iris versicolor, 33 

Iron, Sulphat of, 99 

Itch, 9» 19 

Itch, Ground, 47 

Itch, Toe, 47 

Jallap, 31, 34 


Jamestown-weed, x8 

Jerusalem Oak, 49 

Tuglans cinerea, S3t 32 

iCalmia. X9» s5 

Kalmia latifolia, X9, 47 

Kiemander, 36 

Kino, 8 

Kuhn, Dr. Adam, 4X 

Lactbscbnt, 38 

Laudanum, 97 

Laurel, Broad-leaved, X9 

Laurel, Pennsylvania Mountain, . . . . X9 

Laurus, so 

Laurus Benxoin, at 

Laurus Sassafras xx, 90 

Leather-wood, >3» 33 

Lemons, Wild, 31 

Leucorrhoea, 38 

Liquidambar asplenifolium, L., xo 

Liquidambar Styradflua, L., X7 

Liquidambar-tree, Maple-leaved, .... 17 

Linodendron Tuhpifera, 15 

Lobelia, 37 

Lobelia cardinalis, 4X 

Lobelia inflata 38 

Lobelia siphilitica, 35» 36, 41 

Magnolia, X3, 14 

Magnolia acuminata, X3, 14 

Magnolia auriculata, 13 

Magnolia Fraseri, tx 

Magnolia glauca, 13, X4, 46 

Magnolia grandinora, X3, 14 

Magnolia trtpetala, X3» M 

Maize. 6 

Male-tern, 4a 

Maliffnant fever, la 

Mandrake, 31 

Marsh Trefoil, 46 

Mather, Rev. Dr. Cotton, 49 

May-apple,. . 3X, 3a. 37, 40 

Medeola Virginica, 39 

Mechameck, 30 

Melia Azedarach, L., 4a 

Menyanthes trifoliata, 46 

Mercurial wash, 94 

Mercury, 43 

Michaux, Andrew, 4a 

Mitchella repens, L 49 

Mock-Eel-root 46 

Moor- wort, Broad-leaved, 47 

Moose-wood, 93 

Mordant for Porcupine quills^ 40 

Mountain-laurel, Pennsylvania, .... 19 

Mountain-tea, ao 

Murrain, 9 

N ausba induced by Magnolia tripetala, . 14 

Nephritis, 8, 9 

Nephritis calculosa, 37 

Nephritis podagrica, 9 

Nicotiana tabacum, 41 

Nutrientia, 4 

Oaks, 11 

Oak bark, 7 

Oak, J'erusalem, 49 

Oak, Poison, 94 

Oak, Spanish, 11 

Opium, 25, 43 

Palm, species on river Mobile, 5 

Panax quinquefolium, ax 

Papaw, .30 

Parsnip, x8 

Parsnip, Wild, 46 

Partridge-berries, 49 

Pennsylvania Mountain-laurel, xo 

Pennsylvania Sumac, Smooth, 48 

Persimmon, xi 

Peruvian bark, . . . . xo, xx, 13, X4, X5, 43 

Pink-root, Carolina, 39 

Piso, C, 90 

Pleurisy-root, 30, 40 

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Pleurisy, . 30. 48, 49 

Pleuruy, inflammatory 48 

Podophyllum diphyllum, L., 31 

Podophyllum peltatum, ... 31, 3a, 37, 40 

Potson-oak, 84 

Poison-Yine, 94 

Poke, ... 30 

Polygala Senega^ 33. 35. 4f 

Polygala vulsans, 36 

Polypodium Virginianum, 43 

Polypodium vulgare, 49 

Poplar, 15 

Populut balsamifera, 17 

Populus tremula, 15 

Porcupine quills, Mordant for, 48 

Poutoe, wild, 30 

Pride of India, 4a 

Prunus Virginiana, tx, 37 

Puccoon a8 

Purgatives . 30. 3a. 33 

Purple Bindweed 31 

Putrid sore throat, 9 

Pyrethrum, 36 

qubrcus rubra montana, zi 

Radix Sbnbga. 36 

Ranunculus bulbosus, 33 

Ranunculus sceleratus, 33 

Red-willow, xa 

Remittent Fevers, 49 

Rete mucosum, 35 

Rheumatism, 14, 36 

Rheumatism, Chronic, 19 

Rhododendron, 35 

Rhododendron Cr3rsanthmum, 19 

Rhododendron maximum, 19 

Rhubarb so, 31 

Rhubarb, Wild .30 

Rhus, 24, 47 

Rhus glabrum, 48 

Rhus radicans, 34 

Rhus Toxicodendron, 34 

Rhus Vemix, 34 

Rohr, Julius von, 33 

Romans, Bernard. 34 

Rose-Willow, S 

Salivating mbdicinbs, as, 35 

Salix alba, la 

Salix latifolia, la 

Salix pentandra, xa 

Salt, Indian, 48 

San^inaria Canadensis, a8 

Sanicle, American, 8 

Sargent, Col. Winthrop, 37 

Sassafras, 47 

Sassafras, Common, xx, ao 

Sassafras, Oil, ...••• ao, sx 

Sassafras, Root, ai 

Sassafras, Swamp, X4 

Saw-wort, Spiked, 37 

Scammony, 31 

Schoepf, Dr., a» 9, 48 

Sciatica aj 

Sedative, 18 

Seneca, 36. 49 

Seneca Snake-root, aS. 33, 35 

Senna, 3a 

Serpentaria^ 15 

Serpenu, bite of, 33 

Serratula, 38 

Serratula spicata, 35, 37, 38 

Sialagoga, 7$ 

SUene Yirginica, 4x 

Smilax, China 5 

Smooth Pennsylvania Sumac, 48 

Snake-root, 14, 1 5, 16 

Snake-root, Black, 9 

Snake-root, Seneca, a5i 33, 35 

Snake-root, Virginia, 39 

Sore throat. Putrid, 9 

Sore throat. Ulcerous, 11 


South-Sea-tea, 38 

Spanish oak, xx 

Spice-wood, ax 

Spigelia Marilandica,*L., 39 

Spiked Saw-wort, . '. 37 

Spiraea, 99 

Spiraea trifoliata, 36, 37 

Spotted Geranium, 7 

Spurge, as 

Squaw-root, 9 

Startings, X9 

Sternutatory medicines, 34 

Stillingia, 33 

Stillingia sylvatica, 34 

StimuUnts, x6, x8, ax, 38 

Stimulants, Acrid, aa 

Stimulanu, General 17 

Stimulants, Topical, aa 

Stinking Helleoore, 41 

Stomachic, for horses, 15 

Stone, Dr., xa 

Storax, X7 

Stxamonium, 18, 46 

Subsultus, 19 

Sudorifics, ax, 35 

Sulphat of iron, 39 

Sumac, a4, 47 

Sumac, Smooth Pennsylvania, 48 

Sumac, Upland, 48 

Swamp-sassafras, x4 

Sweet-fern, xo 

Sweet-gum, tj 

S^rphihs, . . . 36, 38 

Tacamahaca-Tbbb, X7 

Tartar, Crystals of, 3X 

Tea xa 

Tcnnent, Dr., 48 

Tetters, 48 

Thorough-wort, a8 

Tinea capitis, 19, 4a 

Tobacco, 34 

Tobacco, Common^ 4X 

Tobacco, mixed with leaves of liquidam- 

bar, x8 

Tobacco mixed to uva ursi, 9 

Tobacco smoked with willow, xa 

Toe-Itch 47 

Tonics. xo, 15, 37, 46 

Tonic bitters, .* . . . X5 

Topical Stimulants, aa 

Triosteum 30 

Triosteum perfoliatum, 99 

Tulip-tree, X4, 1$ 

Turmeric, a8 

Turnip, Indian, aa 

Turpentine, 37 

Ulcbration op thb pbbt 47 

Ulcerous sore throat, xx 

Ulcers, 30 

Umbrella-tree xa 

Upland Sumac, 48 

Uva Ursi, 9 

Vbcbtablb bmbtics, 39 

Venereal chancre, 30 

Venereal complaints, 37 

Venereal diseases, 34, 36, 38 

Vernice-tree, 34 

Vescication, 34 

Viola, 39 

Violet, 99 

Virginia Snake-root, 39 

Walnut, Butternut 3a 

Walnut, White, aj 

Warts 48 

Water-Eryngo, at 

Wens, 30 

Whites, 38 

White-walnut, 93 

White-wood, i$ 

Wicke 47 

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WUd-Alspice-Buth, ai Willow, Rose, xs 

Wild-carrot, 46 Wilson^r., 38 

Wild cherry, 37 Witl'» Worm-medicine, Dr., 4s 

Wild-cherry-Tree, 11 Woodhouse, Dr., xi 

Wild Ginj^r, 97 Worm-seed, 40 

Wild-lemons, 31 Worm-medicine, Dr. Witt's, 41 

Wild-parsnip, 46 Yaws, 33 

Wild potatoe, 30 Yaw-weed, 34 

Wild-rhubarb, 30 Yellow water, xo 

Willows, IX Zannichblli, Dr., is 

Willow, Red, is Zanthoxylum Clava Herculis, sC 

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By benjamin SMITH BARTON, M. D. 



' hanc etiam, MiCCENAS, aspice partem. 



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/^rr^ Be it remembered, that on the fourteenth day of Feb- 
^^^IT^ ruary, in the twenty-eighth year of the Independence of 
the United States of America, Benjamin Smith Barton, of the said 
District, M. D. hath deposited in this office, the Title of a Book, 
the right whereof he claims as Proprietor, in the words following, 
to wit: 

"Collections for an Essay towards a Materia Medica of the 
<* United States. By Benjamin Smith Barton, M. D. Professor of 
" Materia Medica, Natural History, and Botany, in the University 
** of Pennsylvania. Part Second. 

*' Banc etiam, Maecenas, aspice partem." 

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, en- 
tituled " An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing 
the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Pro- 
prietors, of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned, 
' And also to the Act, entituled " An Act, Supplementary to an 
Act entituled " An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by 
securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors 
and Proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein men- 
tioned, and extending the Benefits thereof to the arts of Designing, 
Engraving and Etching Historical and other Prints." 

Clerk of the District of Pennsylvania. 

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I OU have been pleased to express yourself favour- 
ably respecting the First Part of this little work. But 
it was not this circumstance that has led me to inscribe 
this Second Part to you. My inducements to do this, 
are of a higher and a different kind. 

Your attentions to me, during my residence in London, 
in the year 1787, were those of a kind and affectionate 
friend, and cannot readily be forgotten. Nor have you 
withdrawn your attentions, notwithstanding the distance 
by which we are separated from each other. 

Some public tribute of respect is due from Americans, 
to one who has so long, and on so many occasions, ma- 
nifested his attachment to the United-States. The tri- 
bute which I now pay is, indeed, a very feeble one: but 
it is paid in the warmth of feeling friendship. 

A LARGE portion of respect is due from the world to 
those, who devote their fortune and their time to the pro- 
motion of science, and the extension of the godlike em- 
pire of benevolence. Your enemies will not deny your 

Digitized by 


( iv ) 

merits in these respects. Your friends are incapable 
of disguising or withholding their sentiments, on the 

Attached, as you are, to every branch of medical 
science; sensible, as you must be, of the imperfections 
of medicine, and ardently anxious for its further im- 
provement, I will flatter myself, that you will peruse, 
with some satisfaction, these imperfect CoUectionSy a mass 
of mere mishapen materials, out of which, at some fu- 
ture period, a part of a more regular American Materia 
Medica may be constructed. Whether I shall live 
to take any part in the building, is extremely doubtful 
The edifice is one, however, to which I look forward 
with an ardent zeal, A belief that I may possibly be- 
hold it, will serve to stimulate me to new and other 
labours, in this walk of medical science. 

With the most sincere wishes for your health and 
happiness, and for the continuance of your useful labours 
and exertions, I remain, 

My dear Sir, 

Your obedient and 

Obliged friend, 

February loM, 1804. 

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EXPERIENCE some degree of pleasure in being 
able to fulfil one of my literary promises. I present to 
the public, a Second Part of my Collections for an Es- 
say towards a Materia Medica of the United- States. I 
am not very anxious about the fate of the work, and 
therefore, I shall not offer any formal apology for its im- 
perfections. These will be readily perceived by the 
reader of any experience. 

Imperfect, however, as is this Second Part, I hope 
the student of medicine and the young .practitioner, 
for whom principally it is intended, will find it not less 
interesting than the preceding part. It contains addi- 
tions to many of the articles which are mentioned in the 
former portion of the work, besides facts and observa- 
tions concerning other articles, which are either entirely 
unnoticed, or merely named, there. Some of the newly 
named articles have never before been noticed in any 
work relative to the Materia Medica: such are Mjrrica 
cerifera, Prinos verticillatus, Hydrastis Canadensis, 
Frasera Walteri, &c. How far these are worthy of 
the attention of physicians, must be left to others to 

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( vi ) 

To render the work somewhat more useful, I have 
interspersed it with occasional practical remarks. Some 
of these remarks, I am very ready to allow, are not neces- 
sarily introduced into the work. Such are those respect- 
ing Arsenic, and Digitalis. But it will be recollected, 
that I am not in pursuit of anything like a methodical 
or regularly-digested work: and if any value be attached 
to the remarks, I shall cheerfully submit to be censured 
for my want of order and arrangement, in the manage- 
ment of my subject. 

The principal, and indeed only, object which I had 
in view in composing the First Part of this little work, 
has been, in some measure, accomplished. I wished 


PRODUCTIONS. Already have I had the satisfaction 
to perceive the useful tendency of my labours. Se- 
veral of the vegetables which I had mentioned in the 
Collections^ have been examined with care and ability, by 
graduates in the University of Pennsylvania, who have 
thus put us in possession of a large body of useful infor- 
mation concerning those vegetables. It is unnecessary 
to mention, in this place, the titles of the dissertations to 
which I allude. Most of them are referred to in the 
present publication. Some of these dissertations reflect 
honour upon their authors; and must evince to the world, 
that an important branch of natural history and of medi- 
cine is making rapid advances among us. It is not one 
of the least pleasurable circumstances of my life, that I 
have been, in some degree, instrumental in directing the 
medical students of the United-States to a few of those 
objects, which have since solicited their attention. 


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( vii ) 

In the present portion of the Collections^ I have called 
the attention of the student to other objects of the Ame- 
rican vegetable kingdom, concerning which I am anxi- 
ous to receive more extensive and more correct informa- 
tion. My various pursuits do not permit me to enter 
minutely into an investigation of the properties of the 
articles which I mention. Indeed, I wish it to be under- 
stood, that some of these articles have never been em- 
ployed by myself in practice; and, consequently, that 
my information concerning them has been derived from 
the experience of other persons. It is obvious, there- 
fore, that I cannot always vouch for the truth or accuracy 
of the observations, which I detail, concerning the pro- 
perties and eflfects of our vegetables. But neither could 
I have vouched for their truth and accuracy, even though 
I had related them from my own experience. For where 
is the candid physician who will not confess, that he often 
errs? Where is the physician who will not acknowledge, 
that in the course of his practice, he has often ascribed 
effects to medicines, which those medicines did not prcf- 
duce? Extraordinary (provided they be solitary 


♦ ♦ ♦ * 

♦ ♦ ♦ 




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( ix ) 

THE following observations form a part of one of my 
Introdtictory Lectures, I have thought that they 
mighty with some propriety^ be introduced in this place. 

"It is a trite observation, that every country pos- 
sesses remedies that are suited to the cure of its pecu- 
liar diseases. The greater number of those who have 
adopted this opinion, have imagined, that the prin- 
cipal portion of indigenous remedies is to be found 
among the vegetables of the countries in which the 
diseases prevail. 

"This observation, in a limited degree, is undoubt- 
edly well founded. But the universality of the posi- 
tion may, I think, be called in question. Man is subject 
to many diseases, both of body and of intellect, for 
the cure of which it would seem to be a part of the 
scheme of Providence, that he never shall discover 
remedies. Moreover, man is capable of subsisting, and 
actually does subsist, in certain portions of the earth, 
in which hardly a vegetable is seen, or can be made, to 
grow. Yet, in these situations man is not exempted 
from diseases: for diseases appear to be as necessarily 
a part of his essence or nature as the organs and the 
functions of his body. 

"But although we are not authorized, from an 
extensive examination of the subject, to conclude, 
that every country possesses native remedies, that 
are the best adapted for the cure of its peculiar dis- 
eases, still it must be admitted, that the observation 
6 B 

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( X ) 

is, in part, well founded. It was remarked by a wri- 
ter*, who was more distinguished for the vivacity of 
his wit than for the solidity of his judgement, that the 
intermittent fever prevailed in Europe, but that the 
Peruvian bark was found in South-America. This ob- 
servation was intended as an exception to the general 
rule which I have mentioned. Perhaps, it was in- 
tended to arraign the benevolent order of Providence. 
But the observation can have no weight with physici- 
ans who know, that the intermittent fever is the dis- 
ease of almost every climate, and that the Peruvian 
bark is not the only remedy that is capable of subduing 
this disease. 

*' Without any regard, however, to the rule that, 
in general, the remedies for diseases exist in the na- 
tive countries of such diseases, it may safely be con- 
jectured, judging from the discoveries which have 
already been made, in the term of three hundred years, 
that there are no countries of the world from which 
there is reason to expect greater or more valuable 
accessions to the Materia Medica, than the countries of 
America. The diflFerent species of Cinchona, or Peru- 
vian bark, the Quassia, the Simarouba, the Guaiacum, 
the diflFerent kinds of Jallap and of Ipecacuanha, the 
Polygala Senega, the two species of Spigelia, not to 
mention many other valuable medicines, are all natives 
of America; and most of them have not, hitherto, been 
found in any other portion of the world. 

" It has often been said, that the Materia Medica is 
already crowded with a great number of inert, useless, 

♦ Monsieur Dc Voltaire. 


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( « ) 

or pernicious medicines. This I think is strictly true; 
and it is certainly, high time to banish from the 
shops many of the medicines, or articles, which they 
contain. This fullness of the Materia Medica ought 
not, however, to make us relax in our inquiries into 
the properties of the vegetables of our own and of 
other countries. No candid physician will deny, that 
he often meets with cases in which the choice of active 
medicines is a matter of consequence. So various are 
the constitutions of our patients; so infinitely various 
are the forms under which diseases present themselves, 
that it becomes absolutely necessary to know, and to 
possess, a great number of diflferent medicines, even 
of those which are endowed with a common assem- 
blage of properties. 

"I AM not ignorant, that there are some persons, 
who consider the science of medicine as a science of 
extreme simplicity; who believe, or affect to believe, 
that in the treatment of diseases, we have arrived at 
something like the ultimatum of perfection. We are 
already, say these persons, in possession of all the 
means that are necessary for the alleviation, or for the 
cure, of our diseases. It is needless, then, to ransack 
nature any further. 

"In opposition to such an opinion as this, it will 
be suflScient to hint at the recent date of the intro- 
duction of some of the most important articles of 
medicine into the Materia Medica; or at the recent 
date of our acquaintance with the new properties and 
powers of those which have long been known. The 
properties of Mercury could hardly be . said to be 

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( xii ) 

known until the general spread of the venereal disease 
through Europe, towards the end of the 15th and the 
beginning of the i6th centuries. Nay not more than 
half the invaluable powers of this herculean medi- 
cine were discovered before the middle of the last cen- 
tury; and I cannot hesitate to believe, that many of 
its properties are still unknown. The Peruvian bark, 
the Ipecacuanha, the Jallap, the Tobacco, the Guaia- 
cum, and many others, were not even named to the 
physicians of the old-world, until several years after 
the discovery of America, in 1492. Some of the 
most valuable properties of Opium, such as its use in 
the treatment of low nervous fevers, were not detected 
before the middle of the eighteenth century; and of 
the Digitalis, one of the most common plants of some 
of the most cultivated countries of Europe, little ex- 
cept the fact of its being an extremely deleterious 
plant, was ascertained previously to the excellent pub- 
lication of Dr. Withering. These facts, certainly, show 
us, that we have no reason for believing, that the 
list of important articles of the Materia Medica is com- 
pleted; or that we are fully acquainted with all the 
properties of those which have been known for hun- 
dreds of years. On the contrary, they render it highly 
probable, that hitherto, we have discovered but a very 
small part of those vegetable and other remedies, which 
Providence, in the fullness of his benevolence, has 
scattered over the earth. 

*'In conducting our inquiries into the properties 
of the medicinal vegetables of our country, much 
useful information may, I am persuaded, be obtained 

[ Digitized by Google I 

( xiii ) 

through the medium of our intercourse with the In- 
dians. Let not this observation induce any of you to 
suppose, that I am of opinion, with many travellers, 
and with some writers on the Materia Medica, that the 
savages of North-America are in possession of abso- 
lute specifics for all, or for any, of their diseases. I 
am too much of a skeptic in matters that regard the 
science of medicine to admit of the existence of any 
medicines that are strictly entitled to the name of spe- 
cifics; and my inquiries concerning the diseases and 
remedies of our Indians have convinced me, that among 
these people the art of medicine is truly in a shapeless 
and an embryo state. 

"It is, nevertheless, certain that some of the rudest 
tribes of our continent are acquainted with the general 
medical properties of many of their vegetables. Like 
the rest of mankind, they are subject to diseases; 
and like all nations in the savage forms of society, 
many of their diseases are violent. Nor, notwith- 
standing what has been repeatedly asserted to the 
contrary, are the diseases of those North-American 
tribes with whom we are the best acquainted either 
simple or few. The diseases of our Indians, even 
of those tribes who have been the least influenced, or 
corrupted, by their intercourse with more civilized 
nations, are numerous, and often present themselves in 
the mixed or complicated forms which have been sup- 
posed to be, in a great measure, confined to nations 
in the more improved and luxurious stages of society. 
It is, I believe, a truth, that the medicines of savage 
and other uncultivated nations are, in general, medi- 
cines of an active kind. Thus, if we except that 

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( xiv ) 

farrago of articles which are employed by our Indians 
as supposed remedies against the bites of venemous 
serpents,* we shall find that the Materia Medica of 
these people contains but few substances as inert 
as many of those which have a place in our books 
on this science, and on other par\s of medicine. The 
astringents and tonics, which they employ in the 
treatment of intermittent fevers, are the barks of 
some species of Cornus, or Dogwood, such as Cornus 
florida and Cornus sericea, both of which are found 
to possess properties very nearly allied to those of 
the Cinchona, or Peruvian bark: their purgatives are 
different species of Iris, or Flag, the root of the Podo- 
phyllum peltatum, or May-apple; the bark of the Jug- 
lans cinerea, or Butter-nut, and some others: their 
emetics are the Spiraea trifoliata, or Indian Physic; the 
Euphorbia Ipecacuanha, Sulphat of Iron, or Copperas, 
and many others: their sudorifics are the active 
Polygala Senega, or Seneca snake-root, the Aristolo- 
chia Serpentaria, or Virginia snake-root, the Eupa- 
torium perfoliatum, or Thorough-wort, the Lobelia 
siphilitica, &c: their anthelmintics are the Spigelia 
Marilandica, or Carolina Pink-root, the Lobelia Car- 
dinalis, or Cardinal-Flower, &c. 

**From this list, which it would be an easy task 
to render more extensive and more perfect, it must 
be obvious, that the Indians of North-America are in 
possession of a number of active and important reme- 
dies. It will not be denied, however, that they do not 
always apply their remedies with judgment and discem- 

* See Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. Vol. iii . No. xi. 

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( XV ) 

ment. But what treasures of medicine may not be 
expected from a people, who although destitute of the 
lights of science, have discovered the properties of 
some of the most inestimable medicines with which 
we are acquainted? Without mentioning the pro- 
ductions of South-America, let it be recollected, that 
it is to the rude tribes of the United-States that we 
are indebted for our knowledge of Polygala Senega, 
Aristolochia Serpentaria, and Spigelia Marilandica. 

"It is observed by De Pauw, that Botany is the 
only science that is known to savage nations.* This 
observation is more just than many others that are 
to be found in the writings of this singular author. 
But it would have been still more just, if, instead of 
Botany, the term Materia Medica had been employed. 
Savages, in general, know nothing of the sexual diflfer- 
ences of vegetables ; their classification, &c. circumstan- 
ces intimately appertaining to the science of Botany, f 
But a knowledge of the obvious habit or deportment 
of their plants, and of the general properties of these 
plants, is, indeed, a very prominent feature in the de- 
scription of many savage nations: it is, perhaps, more 
especially a prominent feature in the description of the 
savage nations of North-America. 

* Recherches Philosophiques sur les Amerlcains, &c. Tome i. 

t If, however, we may depend upon the obsenrationt of Dr. Porster, the 
Inhabitants of Otaheite, and other islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean, are 
"acquainted with the sexual system, especially in the coco-palm.*' These 
people have also learned to designate by distinct and often appropriate names, 
the t>racte and various other parts of the plant, in a manner so correct, that 
it must be acknowledged, that the dawn of Scientific Botany has commenced 
among them. See observations made during a Voyage round the world, &c. 
P- 498t 499i 500. I«ondon : 1778. 4to. 

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( xvi ) 

"But it IS only with their general properties that 
they are acquainted. For the discovery of these the 
uncultivated reason of man, even the wild instinct of 
the animal, are often sufficient. It is the province of 
science; it is the duty of those who attach themselves, 
with a well-guided ardour, to the amiable pursuits of 
medical and natural science more especially, to investi- 
gate, with a laborious and accurate attention, the whole 
of the properties of the various natural objects by which 
they are surrounded. The illiterate Indians of L^xa, in 
Peru, were not ignorant, that the Peruvian bark cured in- 
termittent fevers: but it was reserved for men of science, 
aided by the ample experience of many years, to discover 
the numerous other properties of this important, this 
indispensible, article of the Materia Medica." 

* * * * 
* * 

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Section I. Astringents. 

TERANIUM maculatum.* This is, certainly, a 
vegetable entitled to the attention of American physi- 
cians. In Kentucky, where it is called "Crow-foot," it 
has been collected for the Tormentilf of the shops. In 
some of the north-western parts of the United-States, it 
is known by the name of Racine a Becquet^ after a person 
of this name. The western Indians say it is the most 
effectual of all their remedies for the cure of the venereal 
disease. I have not, however, been able to learn, in what 
form or stage of this disease they employ it. I doubt 
not it would be found very useful, exhibited internally, 
in cases of old gonorrhoea. In such cases, the internal 
astringents are too much neglected. 

An aqueous infusion of the root forms an excellent 
injection in gonorrhoea. In old gonorrhoea, and in gleets, 
a more saturated infusion may be employed, either alone, 
or combined with a portion of the sulphat of zinc, or 
white vitriol. 

^ See CoUectioiiB, &c Part Pint, pages 8 & 43. 
t TormentiUa erecta of Limuetaa. 

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Both the simple sulphat and the oxy-sulphat of iron 
strike a deep violet colour with the infusion of the root 
in water. 

Heuchera Americana*. This is the Heuchera 
Cortusa of Michauxf, who has unnecessarily changed 
many of the long-received names of American plants. 
This Heuchera is one of the articles in the Materia 
Medica of our Indians. They apply the powdered root 
to wounds, and ulcers, and cancers. 

Of the Pyrola umbellata I have made no mention in 
the first part of this work. It is a very common North- 
American plant, and is sometimes called Ground-Holly, 
but is much better known (at least in New-Jersey and in 
Pennsylvania) by the name of PippstssevaXy which is 
one of its Indian appellations. In the sexual system of 
Linnaeus, it belongs to the same class and order (Decan- 
dria monogynia) as the Uva Ursi. It also belongs to the 
same natural assemblage of plants as the last mentioned 
vegetable : viz. the order Bicornes of Linnaeus, and the or- 
der Eric^ of Mr. de Jussieu. The two plants are, unques- 
tionably, nearly allied to each other in respect to their 
botanical affinity, as well as in their medical properties. 

The Pyrola is considerably astringent, and the quan- 
tity of astringency appears to be nearly the same in the 
leaves and in the stems. Hitherto, it has not greatly 
excited the attention of physicians. But I think it is 
worthy of their notice. A respectable physician, in East- 
Jersey, informed me, that he had employed this plant, 

• See Part First. Page 9. 

t Flora Boreali-Americana, &c. Tom. i. p. 171, 

t Perhaps, Phipsesawa, 

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( 3 ) 

with manifest advantage, in the same cases in which 
Uva Ursi has been found so useful. This looks very 
probable : for it would seem, from many facts, that the 
lithontriptic powers of the Uva Ursi are, in no small de- 
gree, owing to the astringent quality of this plant: and, 
"perhaps, upon the whole (as an eminent practitioner* 
" has observed), we shall find it no better than other veg- 
"etable astringents; some of which have long been used 
" by the country people, in gravelly complaints, and with 
"very great advantage: though hitherto unnoticed by 
" the regular practitioners f.*' 

The Pyrola, as I am informed by my pupil Dr. John 
S. Mitchell, has been used, with good effect, in some 
cases of intermittents. In one case, its diuretic opera- 
tion was evident. "The urine discharged was almost 
" black. It appeared as if a few drops of a solution of 
"the sulphat of iron had been put into an astringent 
" infusion t." This was a solitary occurrence, and one 
which I am unable to explain. 

For more ample information concerning this veg- 
etable, I beg leave to refer the reader to Dr. Mitchell's 
Inaugural Essay on the Arbutus Uva Ursty and the 
Pyrola umbellata and maculata of Linnaeus §. Prefixed 

« Dr. Withering. See A Systematic Arrangement of British Plants, &c. 
Vol. II. p. 391. London: 1801. 

1 1 cannot forbear mentioning in this place (at the risk, perhaps, of exposing 
myself to the ridicule of the mere theorist), that the nuclei, or kernels, of the com- 
mon'American Hazlenut (Corylus Americana) have been found very useful in afford- 
ing relief to several persons labouring under nephritic, and perhaps calculous affec- 
tions. I mention this fact on the respectable authority of my friend, Dr. Frederick 
Kuhn, of Lancaster, in Pennsylvania. Do these kernels act solely by virtue of 
their astringent quality? 

I Letter to me, dated Sunbury, August 8th, 1803. 

\ Philadelphia : 1803. * 

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to this dissertation, there is a good figure of the Pyrola 

The Myrica cerifera, or Candle-berry Myrtle, deserves 
to be mentioned in this place. This is a common shrub 
in many of the maritime parts of the United-States, as 
in New- Jersey, Delaware, &c. This is, unquestionably, 
a very powerful astringent, and as such has been em- 
ployed by the country-practitioners of the United-States. 
A decoction of the bark of the root is employed, some- 
times alone, and sometimes in combination with the bark 
of the root of Persimmon, or with the bark of the Black- 
Alder, which I am afterwards to mention. The simple 
or combined decoction of the Myrica has been used, 
with much advantage, in dropsical affections succeeding 
to intermittents, particularly in the peninsula of Dela- 
ware, where dropsies, in various shapes, are, perhaps, 
more common than in any other part of North-America, 
within the same latitudes. The root of the Myrica has 
likewise been found useful in the treatment of haemor- 
rhages from the uterus, &c. It was remarked by an old 
physician,* who had much experience in the use of this 
vegetable, that it often acted as a gentle purgative. 

Several varieties of the Mjrrica cerifera are de- 
scribed by the botanists. That of which I have been speak- 
ing is distinguished by the circumstances of its having 
broader leaves, and larger berries, than the others. It is the 
variety marked fi and named mediae in the Flora BorecUi- 
Americana of Michaux.f I cannot, however, assert, that as 
an astringent, this is to be preferred to the other varieties. 

* Dr. Matthew Wilson, 
t Tom. II. p. 228. 

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The Myrica Gale, called Sweet- Willow, or Dutch- 
Myrtle, and also American Bog-Gale, is likewise a native 
of the United-States. But this, to which useful qualities 
are ascribed, by Linnaeus and other writers, seems less 
worthy of our notice than the above-mentioned species. 

The Prinos verticillatus* of Linnaeus is a very com- 
mon shrub in many parts of the United-States. It is 
especially common in the maritime parts of the union, 
at least as far south as North-Carolina; and is generally 
found to grow in the greatest perfection in swamps, or 
marshy places. It is the Prinos Gronovii of Michaux. 
To the inhabitants of New-Jersey and Pennsylvania, it 
is well known by the name of Black-Alder. If I do not 
mistake, however, the same appellation has been be- 
stowed upon another American shrub, the Ilex? Cana- 
densis of Michaux. Care must be taken to distinguish 
our Prinos from the Swamp- Alder, or Candle- Alder, which 
is the Betula serrulata of Aiton. 

The bark of the Prinos verticillatus is manifestly as- 
tringent. It is, likewise, considerably bitter, and along 
with these properties there is united a degree of pungency. 
The berries, which are of a fine red colour, greatly par- 
take of the bitter quality, and if infused in wine or brandy, 
might be employed, with advantage, in many of those 
cases in which bitters, in a vinous or spirituous men- 
struum, are exhibited by physicians. But it is especially 
the bark of the shrub that seems entitled to our attention. 

This has long been a popular remedy in diflferent 
parts of the United-States. But as yet, it has been 

^ Marshall calls this Virginian Winter-Berry. 

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greatly neglected by the regular physicians, only a few 
of whom (so far as I can learn) have been in the habit of 
employing it. This bark possesses the common proper- 
ties of the vegetable astringent and tonic medicines; and, 
accordingly, it has been used as a substitute for the Pe- 
ruvian bark, in intermittents, and in other diseases. It 
is employed both in substance and in decoction, most 
commonly, however, in the latter shape. It is supposed 
to be especially useful in cases of great debility unaccom- 
panied with fever; as a corroborant in anasarcous and 
other dropsies, and as a tonic in cases of incipient spha- 
celus, or gangrene. In this last case, it is, unquestion- 
ably, a medicine of great efiBcacy. It is both given inter- 
nally, and employed externally as a wash. On many oe^ 
casions, it appears to be more useful than the Peruviain^ 
bark. It ought to have a place in the shops, and in th^ 
Pharmacopoeia of this country, when such a deside- 

In making decoctions or infusions, for the diflFerent 
purposes which I have mentioned, the berries are ofterx 
mixed with the bark. 

The Orobanche Virginiana, or Virginian Broom-rape, 
is a very common plant in many parts of North- America. 
Michaux says that it grows from Canada to Georgia. It: 
is generally, if not always, found under the shade of the 
American Beach-tree (Fagus ferruginea)*. Hence one of 
its names, in Pennsylvania, viz. " Beach-drops." But it is 
much more generally known by the name of Cancer-rootf. 

* Michaux entirely restricU iU habiution to the root of the Beach: *'Iii 
radice Pagi nee alice plants." Flora, &c. Tom. II. p. 26. 

t See Blements of BoUny, &c. Part Third, p. 80. 

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Every part of this plant is considerably astringent. 
This astringency is evinced not only by the taste of the 
plant, but also by subjecting it to chemical examination. 
The infusion or decoction assumes an ink-like colour, on 
adding to it a solution of the sulphat of iron, or copperas. 
But along with the astringency, especially in the recent 
plant, there is combined a peculiar and extremely nauseous 
bitterness. Judging by the taste, we should not hesitate to 
say, that the Cancer-root is a vegetable endued with con- 
siderable powers. It must be confessed, however, that 
these powers are much less obvious in the dried than in 
the recent vegetable. 

Some of the medical powers of this plant have long 
been known to the people of the United-States. It has 
been celebrated as a remedy in dysentery. There are, I 
think, cases of dysentery in which much advantage might 
be expected from the exhibition of a medicine possessed of 
the powers of the Cancer-root. But this vegetable has ac- 
quired its principal reputation as a remedy in cancerous 
aflfections. How far it is entitled to any character in such 
aflfections, I am unable to say, having never employed it in 
a case of genuine cancer. But it is proper to mention, that 
the Orobanche has been supposed, by many persons, to 
have formed a part of the celebrated cancer-powder of 
Dr. Hugh Martin, whose success in the management ot 
many cases of this dreadful disease, has been acknowl- 
edged by the regular practitioners of Philadelphia, &c. 

As early as 1785, at which time I was a student of 
medicine, I was informed, by the people inhabiting the 
western parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia, that this 
Orobanche formed the principal part, if not the whole, of 
Martin's powder. It was even said, that Martin, who 

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had passed some time at Fort- Pitt, was known to have 
collected the plant for the purpose. I believe it to be a 
fact sufficiently established, that the basis (or perhaps 
rather the most active part) of Martin's powder was the 
oxyd of arsenic. This has been shown by a chemical 
examination of the powder*, and by other circumstances 
nearly as decisive. Thus comatose affections (such as 
are known to be induced by arsenic) have been induced 
by the powder of Martin, even when externally applied 
in cancerous tdcers. A case of this kind came under the 
notice of a physician f in Philadelphia. The patient 
seemed to fall a victim to the application of the medicine. 

But the powder of Martin did not consist entirely of 
the oxyd of arsenic. This is certain. I believe it to be 
certain also, that he combined with the arsenic, a vege- 
table matter; and from what has been said, it would 
seem not entirely improbable, that this vegetable was the 
Orobanche Virginiana. 

It may be said, and it is not impossible, that Martin 
added the vegetable matter merely to disguise the arsenic, 
reposing, at the same time, all his confidence in the 
arsenic alone. I think it more probable, however, that 
the superior efficacy of Martin's powder, and of the pow- 
ders in the hands of other empirical practitioners, has 
been, in part, owing to the addition of something to the 
arsenic. If there be no foundation for this suspicion, 
how has it happened, that in the management of cancers, 
the empirical practitioners have often succeeded so much 
better witli their medicines than the regular physicians 

• Se« Dr. Rush's paper on the subject, in the Transactions of the American 
Philosophical Society. Vol. II. No. xxvi. 

t Dr. Adam Kuhn. from whom I received the fact. 

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have done? Both use arsenic. Some of the cancer 
powders, employed by empirics, in Europe, are known to 
have been composed, in part, of arsenic and a vegetable 
matter. The celebrated powder of Plumked was made 
up of arsenic, the root of a species of Ranunculus, or 
Crow-foot; and sulphur. 

Whatever may have been the vegetable which 
Martin used in combination with arsenic, it is certain, 
that the powder of the Orobanche, or Cancer-root, has 
been of great service (in Philadelphia, &c.) externally 
applied to obstinate ulcers, some of which had resisted 
the applications that are commonly made use of in such 
cases. It would be well to try the eflfects of this vegeta- 
ble in those dreadful ulcerations (by some writers deemed 
cancerous), which are too frequently the consequence of 
the use of mercury, when it has been given in large 
quantity. Cases of the kind I allude to, are recorded by 
Dr. Donald Monro, Mr. Adams, in a valuable work*, 
and other writers. I have had occasion to see some ul- 
cerations of the same kind in Philadelphia. They often 
refuse to yield to stimulating or to mild applications. 

With the view to encourage further inquiry into the 
nature and properties of the Orobanche Virginiana, I 
may here mention, that one of the European species of 
this genus, the Orobanche major, or Greater Broom-rape, 
is a very powerful astringent, and is said to have been 
found useful, externally applied, in xBases of ulcers. This 
I mention on the respectable authority of Sir John 
Floyerf. The activity of the European plant may even 
be inferred from the fact mentioned by Shreber, that cattle 

* Observations on Morbid Poisons, Phagedeena, and Cancer, &c. p. 6$, &c. 
London: 1795. 

t Pharmacobasanos, or The Touchstone of medicines, &c. p. 159. London : 1687. 

7 B 

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do not eat it. We must pay, perhaps, no regard to certain 
other powers which have been ascribed to it. " Dicunt 
autem facere, ut taurum vacca appetat*." I have not 
been able to learn whether the Orobanche Virginiana is 
eaten by the homed cattle, or other quadrupeds. 

Section II. Tonics. 

I Shall open this section with a few notices con- 
cerning some indigenous Bitter vegetables, which seem 
well entitled to the attention of physicians. At the same 
time, I avail myself of an opportunity of observing, that 
the tonic quality of vegetables does not so much consist 
in bitterness as some celebrated writers f have imagfined. 
It will not be denied that many of the bitters (even those 
which have their bitterness unmixed with astringency) 
are some of the most useful tonics with which we are 
acquainted. But, it must be allowed, that certain other 
bitter vegetables have but a feeble claim to the character 
of tonics. And it would not be a difficult task to show, 
that some of the most valuable tonics are (strictly speak- 
ing) neither bitter nor astringent. It is not easy, there- 
fore, to say, in what the tonic property of medical agents 
does especially consist. It will hardly be doubted, how- 
ever, that every tonic exerts a stimulant effect upon the 
system, though, on many occasions, it may be difficult, or 
impossible to measure the intensity or degree of the sti- 

* Alberti v Haller Historia Stirpium Indii^enarum Helvetise inchoata. Tom. i. 
p. 130. 

t Dr. CuUea, particularly. See his Treatise of the Materia Medica. Vol. II. 
P- 55. &c. 

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mulns applied, merely by an attention to the pulse. The 


The Zanthorhiza apiifolia* of L'Heritier, or Parsley- 
leaved Yellow-root, is a native of North and South Caro- 
lina, and Georgia. It is a small shrub, which flowers 
early in the spring. This vegetable has long been 
known; but it is only within a very few years that it has 
excited the attention of physicians. 

The bark of the root is intensely bitter; I think more 
so than the root of Columbo. This bitter property 
pervades the wood of the root, as well as the bark: but 
in the former it is, unquestionably, weaker than in the 
latter. The bark of the stem is also bitter, perhaps but 
littie less so than that of the root. The sensation of bit- 
terness that is left in the mouth, when the bark has been 
chewed, is very durable and adhesive. It continues, to a 
considerable degree, even after the mouth has been repeat- 
edly washed with cold water. There does not seem to be 
combined with the bitterness, any very considerable de- 
gree of a foreign acrimony. However, upon holding the 
bark for some time in the mouth, it evidently communi- 
cates to it a sense of pungency, or acrimony. I think 
there is less of this pungency in the bark of the stem 
than in that of the root. 

The infusion of the bark of the root, in hot water, 
had a disagreeable and somewhat virose smell. From 
this, however, it ought not to be inferred, that the Zan- 
thorhiza is a deleterious plant. A similar smell belongs 

* Zanthorhiza simplicissima of Marshall, and Zanthorhiza tinctoria of Wood- 
honae. The specific named apiifolia should be preferred. 

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to many other bitter vegetables, even to some of those 
which appear, from the experience of many ages, to be 
entirely innoxious. I am not ignorant, indeed, that a 
poisonous quality has been supposed to be necessarily 
attached to every bitter. I cannot help thinking, that this 
theory has been the result of a very limited view of the 
subject of bitters, and of their effects. The evil eflfects of 
the Portland powder, and other similar articles, in gouty 
aflFections, have, I am persuaded, been greatly exagger- 
ated by Dr. CuUen*, and some other writers : and the real 
bad eflfects of these articles must, perhaps, be ascribed to 
the long-continued repetition of a stimulant powder, by 
which the energies of the system are wasted, and irregu- 
larities occasioned in the circulation of the blood. 

The Zanthorhiza, so far as we are enabled to inves- 
tigate its properties, appears to be one of the most pure 
and unmixed bitters. The addition of the sulphat of iron 
to an infusion of the bark of the root in boiling water, did 
not produce the least perceptible change in the colour of 
the infusion, even when the two articles were suflfered to 
stand for a considerable time, after the addition. In this 
respect, as well as in others, it appears to make a very 
near approach to the Columbo. But I am inclined to 
think, that the Zanthorhiza is the least pure of the twof. 

To the saliva, the bark, when it is chewed, communi- 
cates the most beautiful yellow colour. The infusion in 
hot water is also very fine. If its colour could be fixed, 
the Zanthorhiza would be one of the most important of all 
the ytMovf planttB izncloruewith which we are acquainted. 

* A Treatise of the Materia Medica. Vol. II. p. 64. 65, 66. 

t See Elements of Botany, &c. Explanation of the Plates. Page 26. 

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Hitherto, the Zanthorhiza has been but little em- 
ployed in practice. Some experiments have, however, 
been made with it*, and these are calculated to show, that 
it may be advantageously employed, and that it ought 
to have a place in the shops. Although less pure than 
Columbo, I believe it is, in certain cases, to be preferred to 
that celebrated bitter. Professor Woodhouse, who seems 
to have paid more attention to this vegetable than any 
other person, has used it, with very good effect, in several 
of those cases in which the bitter medicines are proper. 

For a correct representation of the Zanthorhiza, see 
the Medical Repository ^ already referred to, and also my 
Elements of Botany f. 

In the First Part of these CollectionsX^ I have made 
mention of the Hydrastis Canadensis, commonly called 
"Yellow-root." This is a very common vegetable in 
various parts of the United-States; particularly in the 
rich soil adjacent to the Ohio and its branches, in the 
western parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia ; and in Ken- 
tucky. The root of this plant is a very powerful bitter: 
perhaps not less so than that of the Zanthorhiza. To 
the taste, however, it is unquestionably more pungent 
than the Zanthorhiza. When held between the lips, it 
even excites a very considerable sense of pungent heat 
The dried root has a strong and virose smell, very similar 
to that of the Zanthorhiza, but stronger. The infusion 
in hot water, smells very like the infusion of Zanthorhiza. 
The two infusions taste a good deal alike. 

• 8«€ Medical Repository. Vol. V. No. II. 

t Plate XII. 

I Page 9. See, aUo, Elements of Botany, &c. Part Third, p. 70. 

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On adding a solution of the sulphat of iron to an infu- 
sion of the root of the Hydrastis, I was not able to dis- 
cover the least indication of astringency. This further 
shows the aflSnity of the two plants to each other. I may 
add, that although they do not both belong to the same 
artificial subdivision in the sexual system, they are both 
near relations in a family of Nature's making. They be- 
long to De Jussieu's order Ranunculacece^ which may be 
considered as a pretty natural assortment of vegetables. 

The Hydrastis is a popular remedy in some parts of 
the United-States. A spirituous infusion of the root is 
employed as a tonic bitter, in the western parts of Penn- 
sylvania, &c. and there can be little doubt, that both in 
this and in other shapes, our medicine may be used with 
much advantage. An infusion of the root, in cold water, 
is also employed as a wash, in inflammations of the eyes. 
In these cases, it is well known, that some of the bitter 
medicines, such as ox-gall, fish-gall, and others, have 
long maintained some character; and some of them, I 
believe, are entitled to the praises which have been be- 
stowed upon them. 

The root of the Hydrastis supplies us with one of 
the most brilliant yellow colours, with which we are ac- 
quainted. When it shall be subjected to proper experi- 
ments, I doubt not, it will be found a most valuable die- 
plant, and well worthy of a place in the manufacturing 

The Gentiana lutea, or common Gentian of the shops, 
is said to be a native of the United-States*. This, per- 

• Kalm. 

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haps, is doubtful. But it is certain, that several of the 
indigenous species of this genus are intense and pretty 
pure bitters, but little, if at all, inferior to the species 
just mentioned*. 

The Gentiana Centauriumf, or Lesser Centory, is 
found native within the limits of the United-States. 
This, however, is not the plant which is called Centory, 
or "Gentry," in Philadelphia, &c., where it is so com- 
monly employed both by physicians, and as a domestic 
remedy in almost every family. 

The Centory to which I allude is the Chironia an- 
gularis of Linnseus. This is a beautiful annual plant, 
and gfrows abundantly in many parts of the United- 
States, as in New- York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, &c. 
Every part of the plant is intensely bitter, in which re- 
spect it diflFers from the Gentiana Centaurium, the blos- 
soms of which are nearly insipid J. In other respects, 
it is closely allied to the Lesser Centory, the proper- 
ties of which are well known, and established by the 
experience of physicians, for many hundred years. In 
no respect, that I can perceive, is the Chironia inferior, 
as a bitter, to the Centaurium. As a much more com- 
mon plant than this latter, it may, without any injury to 
our patients, supersede its use in the practice of Ameri- 
can physicians, most of whom, if I do not mistake, 
have supposed, while they were employing the Chironica 
angularis, that they were using the Centaurium, of the 
European writers on the Materia Medica. The Chironia 

* See Collections, &c. Part First, page 15. 

t It is the Chironia Centaurium of Curtis, Withering, Smith, and other 
\ I^ewis. 

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is mentioned by Dr. Schoepf, who speaks of it as aro- 
matic and bitter, and mentions the infusion as being 
useful in fevers*. Indeed, I believe that no bitter has 
been more generally prescribed in the United-States, 
in febrile and other affections, than this common Ameri- 
can plant, especially since the memorable year 1793, 
when it was much employed in certain stages of yellow- 
fever; and in which I believe it was very often used with 
much benefit. 

The Frasera Caroliniensis of Walterf (Prasera Walteri 
of MichauxJ) is nearly allied, in botanical habit, to the 
genus Gentiana. This plant, which is a native of the 
states of New- York, Carolina, &c., is furnished with a large 
tuberous root, of a yellow colour, which promises to be 
little inferior as a bitter, to the Gentian of the shops, and 
for which, I suspect, it has sometimes been mistaken. 

I CANNOT conclude this part of the subject of the To- 
nics, without observing, that the countries of the United- 
States are so rich in bitter vegetables, that there can be 
no necessity for having recourse to the foreign articles 
of this class; especially when such articles are only to 
be procured at a high price: a circumstance which not 
unfrequently becomes a source of the adulteration of 
medicines, in this and in other countries. 
* * * * 
* * * 
* * 

* Materia Medica Americana, &c. p. 27. Schoepf calls the plant, Wild-Succory. 

t Flora Caroliniana, &c. p. 87, 88. 

} Flora Boreali-Americana, &c. Tom. i. p. 96, 97. 

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In the First Part of this work, I made some mention 
of two American species of Cornel, or Dog-wood, the Cor- 
nus florida and Cornus sericea*. Since the publica- 
tion of that part, these two vegetables have engaged the 
attention of an ingenious graduate in the university of 
Pennsylvania, Dr. John M. Walker, to whom we are 
indebted for much interesting information concerning 
themf. An analysis of the dissertation would not, I 
presume, be uninteresting to my readers. But I cannot 
undertake the task in this pliace. I think it a duty, 
however, to mention some of the author's experiments 
and observations. 

The taste of the barks of the two Cornels, and that 
of the Peruvian bark, is nearly similar, "though some- 
" what more bitter and astringent in the Comi than the 
"bark: the former when retained in the mouth some- 
" time, only impart to the tongue these two tastes, along 
"with a pleasant warmth; whereas when the latter is 
"retained the same length of time, along with this 
" bitterness and astringency, it imparts an indescribable 
"taste, which will be easily recognized by every one 
" who has taken the bark.'* 

Dr. Walker's experiments show, "that the Comus 
"florida and sericea, and the Peruvian bark, possess 
"the same ingredients, that is gum, mucilage, and ex- 
" tract, which last contains the tannin and gallic acid, 
"though in different proportions. The Florida pos- 
"sesses most of the gum, mucilage, and extract; the 

♦ See pages u. 12, 45. 

t An Bzperi mental Inquiry into the similarity in virtue between the Cornus 
Florida and Sericea, and the Cinchona officinalis of I«innicu8» &c. &c. Phila* 
dephia: 1803. 


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** Sericea the next, which appears to be an intermediate 
** between the Florida and Peruvian Bark; while the 
'* latter possesses most of the resin. Their virtues ap- 
" pear equally similar in their residence. The extract 
^* and resin possess all their active virtues. The extract 
** appears to possess all their tonic power. The resin, 
" when perfectly separated from the extract appears to 
** be purely stimulant*.'* 

Our author has established the stimulant power of 
the two Cornels, by actual experiments upon the healthy 
system. By the use of these medicines, the pulse was 
often rendered fuller and stronger, and always quicker f. 

The bark of the Cornus sericea forms a beautiful 
tincture with proof spirits. This is deserving of a 
place in the shops, as are, also the powdered barks of 
both species. 

I CAN add but little from my own experience, con- 
cerning the application of these two species of Cornus to 
the cure of diseases. I believe, however, that it may, 
with entire safety, be asserted, that as yet we have not 
discovered within the limits of the United-States, any 
vegetables which have been found so eflFectually to answer 
the purpose of the Peruvian bark, in the management of 
intermittent fevers, as the Cornus florida and Cornus 

In an intermittent fever, which prevailed in West- 
New- Jersey, about twenty-four years ago, the bark of 
the Cornus florida was found more useful than the Pe- 

♦ An Experimental Inquiry, &c. page 29. 
t Ibid, page 46. 

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ruvian bark. It was used in the shape of a decoction*. 
I must candidly confess, however, that I have heard of 
more instances of the failure of this Cornel than of the 
Peruvian bark. But has any vegetable so completely 
prevented the recurrence of the paroxysms of intermit- 
tents as the last mentioned one ? In the mineral kingdom, 
indeed, we have discovered an inestimable substitute for 
the bark: I mean Arsenic. This, particularly I think, 
when it is given in substance f, will more certainly cure 
the intermittent than any vegetable yet known, the Peru- 
vian bark excepted. But I am inclined to think, that 
relapses are more common after the employment of 
arsenic than after that of the bark. Besides, Arsenic 


illustration of this position, I may here observe, that 
I myself have seen three cases of very general oedema 
of the face and limbs (especially the former) evidently 
induced by arsenic. Two of the subjects were children, 

*Prom the information of my learned friend, the Reverend Dr. Nicholas 
Collin, of Philadelphia. 

1 1 have, for several years, employed the oxyd of arsenic in substance, in 
preference to Dr. Fowler's solution. I think it a much more certain medicine 
than the solution. I commonly give it in combination with opium. One grain of 
the arsenic is united to four or eight grains of opium, and made into a mass with 
conserve of roses, or honey, or soap. This is divided into sixteen pills, of which I 
direct the patient (an adult) to take two or three at different periods, in the course 
of the day and night, especially during the apyrexia. Such are the powers of this 
medicine, that two grains of it are often sufficient to cure an intermittent, that 
has continued for weeks I Sometimes I use larger doses : but in a majority of the 
cases that have come under my notice, I have found three sixteenths of a grain of 
arsenic sufficient for the period of twenty-four hours. As children are, with diffi- 
culty, prevailed upon to take the medicine in the shape of a pill, I rub down the 
arsenic with honey or melasses and water, and sometimes with a portion of gum- 
arabic. In this form, it is very conveniently given to children, by drops ; and the 
quantity of the mineral, in each dose, may be estimated with considerable accu- 
racy.— In the cure of intermittents, does arsenic operate by virtue of its tonic 
power?— The Peruvian bark sometimes cures intermittents that have resisted the 
powers of arsenic. 

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and the third an adult They all recovered, without ex- 
periencing any other inconvenience from the medicine. 
I have also seen a case of temporary paralysis (or perhaps 
rather extreme debility) of the limbs induced by the 
medicine, in a patient labouring under an obstinate inter- 
mittent. These notices may, possibly, be of some use to 
the very young and inexperienced practitioner, for whom 
principally they are thus candidly mentioned. 

The spirituous tincture of the bark of the Comus se- 
ricea, already mentioned, has been advantageously used in 
the latter stage of diarrhoea, unaccompanied with fever*. 

I HAVE already made mention of the Magnolia glauca.t 
The bark of this tree is celebrated among the Western 
Indians, as a remedy in rheumatism, and in fevers. 
The tree grows, in g^reat profusion, upon the river Kan- 
haway, whither the Indians resort for the purpose of pro- 
curing the bark, which they carry oflf, in g^reat abundance. 
Employed in the shape of a decoction, it "proves 
gently cathartic and ultimately sudorific." A cold infu- 
sion and a tincture of the bark are much used in inter- 
mittents. " In one case of inflammatory rheumatism it 
** seemed to produce considerable effect and relief, as a 
** sudorific, after blood-letting had been premised.'* It 
is known by the names of Elk-Bark and Indian Bark J. 
From the former name, I presume the bark is eaten by 
the American Elk, or Cervus Wapiti. We know it is 
eaten by the Beaver: hence one of the English names 
of this tree, viz. Beaver-tree. 

^ Prom the information of Dr. Amos Gregg, jun. 
t See Part Pirst, pages 13, 14. 

X Prom the information of my friend, Charles BTerett, M. D. of Milton, 
Albemarle-County, Virginia. 

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For further information concerning the medical and 
other properties of this vegetable, I refer the reader to 
Dr. Thomas D. Price's Inaugural Dissertation on the 
Magnolia Glaucay or Common White Laurel-tree^. 

The bark of the Prunus Virginiana (Cerasus Virgini- 
ana of Michaux), which I have mentioned in the First 
Part of these Collections^^ is considerably bitter and as- 
tringent These qualities are accompanied with some 
aromatic warmth. It has been justly observed, that 
" there is a great similarity between the flavour of this 
" bark, and the skin enclosing the kernels of the peach 
** stones J." This bark also possesses an evident narcotic 
quality, to which it is highly probable, that some of the 
useful qualities of the medicine, in certain cases, must be 
ascribed. It is manifestly stimulant. The bark of the 
root seems to be more powerful than that of the trunk. 

My own experience with this vegetable has been 
inconsiderable. The experience and observations of 
others, however, lead me to believe, that it is a medicine 
well worthy of the notice of physicians. In some parts 
of the United-States, the bark has been much employed 
in intermittents, in which it is said to have been found as 
eflScacious as the Peruvian bark. This I am not willing 
to believe. But as it is a durable tonic, there is little 
reason to doubt, independently on actual observations, 
that it is deserving of attention in this common disease. 

The bark has also been found useful in certain cases 
of dyspepsia, in consumption of the lungs, and in lum- 

* Philadelphia : 1802. 
t See pages n and 34. 
X Dr. Morris. 

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bar abscess, attended with hectic fever, and colliquative 
sweats. Of its use in this latter case, we have an in- 
stance in the Medical Repository^. The patient made 
use of a decoction of the bark. It would be easy to 
mention many other diseases in which this medicine has 
been advantageously employed. 

i HAVE already observed f, that the leaves of this tree 
are poisonous to certain animals. Dr. Morris has shown, 
that the distilled water of the leaves is a powerful poison 
to diflFerent species of animals, such as kittens, pigeons, &c. 
About a tea-spoonful of the water killed a "pigeon 
fully fledged," in thirty-two minutes. This gentleman 
was obliged to make his experiments upon the young 
and imperfectly-expanded leaves of the tree. The adult 
leaves are doubtless more powerful. Experiments would 
seem to show, that the deleterious principle of the leaves 
is of a very volatile nature J. 

Under this head of tonics, I may, with some pro- 
priety, take notice of the Eupatorium perfoliatum. I 
am sensible, however, that this vegetable might be more 
advantageously treated of under several different heads, 
such as those of Emetics, Sudorifics, &c., than under one 
individual head. But as a tonic quality is, unquestion- 
ably, attached to this plant, and as I am not, in these 
Collections^ particularly studious of method, I shall bring 
together all I have to offer concerning the Eupatorium, 
under one point of, view. Of this very common plant 
in almost every part of the United-States, I have made 

♦Vol. V. No. in. 
t Part First, page u. 

X See an Inaugural Dissertation on the Prunus Virginiana, &c. &c. By Charles 
Morris, of Virginia. Philadelphia : 1802. 

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mention in the First Part of these Collections'^. It is the 
Eupatorium connatum of Michaux. Besides the provin- 
cial or common English names which have already been 
mentioned, it is known by the following appellations: viz. 
Thorough-stem, Cross-wort, Bone-set, and Indian-Sage. 
The first of these names has been imposed upon it from 
the peculiar structure of the leaves, which are opposite, 
and appear as though the stem was thrust through them. 
It has received the name of Cross-wort, by which it is 
known in many parts of Virginia, from the position of the 
leaves, each pair of which (in general) take their origin 
from opposite sides of the stem, so that they cross each 
other nearly at right angles. I am more at a loss to refer 
the word Bone-set to its real origin : but I presume the 
plant received this name, from the great relief which, on 
many occasions, it has been known to aflford to persons la- 
bouring under violent remitting and other fevers, in which 
the bones are greatly pained. The resemblance of the 
leaves of this plant to those of the Common Sage (Salvia 
officinalis) was long ago remarked by the botanists f. 
Hence the name Indian-Sage, by which this Eupatorium 
is known in some parts of Pennsylvania^ We have seen 
that it is one of the remedies of the Indians J. 

I HAVE already hinted at the obvious properties of the 
Eupatorium, and have observed, that it has been used 
in intermittents, and other fevers §. I am now to re- 
mark, in consequence of subsequent inquiries, that the 
plant has been exhibited, with uncommon advantage, in 

• See pages 27, 52, 53. 

t Particularly by Plukenet, who thus defines the plant : " Eupatorium Virgin- 
ianum, Salvia foliis longissimis acuminatis, perfoliatum. Aim. Bot. 140. t. 86. f. 6. 
X Part First, p. 27, 52, 53. 
I Part First, p. 27, 53. 

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these aflfections. In simple intennittents, admitting of 
distinct intermissions, a decoction of the whole plant, 
or the leaves in powder, have, on many occasions, proved 
eflfectual in preventing the recurrence of paroxysms. I 
now speak of the medicine, as exhibited during the time 
of intermission. But the vegetable, especially in the 
form of a decoction, has often been given during the 
time of the hot stage, and I am in possession of a large 
portion of testimony in favour of its eflScacy when thus 
employed. Not only in intermittents, but likewise in 
remittents, and in the malignant yellow-fever, as it has 
prevailed in Philadelphia, &c., has our plant been used, 
with much advantage. When exhibited in the form of 
a warm decoction, it has seemed to prove peculiarly bene- 
ficial, especially by exciting a copious perspiration. 
The eflfect of the medicine, in inducing this evacuation, 
constitutes one of its most valuable properties, and has 
procured to it an appellation (that of the "vegetable 
antimony'*) to which, I believe, it is as well entitled as 
many other vegetables, which might be mentioned. But 
I greatly doubt if the sudorific effect of this plant, when 
unassisted by heat, can be compared to that of the Poly- 
gala Senega, and several other American plants. It often 
proves emetic: but this operation, which on many occa- 
sions, is not the least useful of its properties, may be pre- 
vented by a proper attention to the medicine. In some 
parts of the United-States, it is exhibited in intermittents, 
chiefly with a view to its emetic effect. 

The Eupatorium has been used in other cases. It is 
said to have been found very useful in a peculiar and 
distressing affection of the herpetic kind, which was 
formerly very common in Virginia, and there known by 

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the name of the ** James-river Ringworm;" because it 
was especially prevalent among the inhabitants residing 
upon the upper streams of James-River. This disease was 
particularly disposed to aflFect young men. It attacked the 
thighs, the scrotum, and especially the parts immediately 
adjacent to the anus. It extended its ravages into the 
rectum, and perhaps much further. It was at all times, 
a disgusting and troublesome disease, though it rarely 
proved mortal. 

Mr. Jefferson* informed me, in 1802, that within the 
period of his remembrance, this herpes was extremely com- 
mon in Virginia, and that it had gradually disappeared or 
become less common, from about the time f that the Warm 
and Hot Springs, in the county of Bath, in Virginia, had 
been better known, and more frequented. He ascribed 
the disappearance of the aflFection to the use of these waters; 
the temperature of the former of which is about 98°: that 
of the latter 106°, of Farenheit's thermometer. 

In this aflfection, the Eupatorium perfoliatum has 
often been found very beneficial, as I have been informed 
by a respectable physician! in Virginia. The patient 
drank a decoction of the plant, and continued the use of 
it for a considerable time. It sometimes puked : it, no 
doubt, purged; and, in all probability, it operated as a 
sudorific. But by what quality it more especially ope- 
rated, in curing the disease, I am unable to say. The 
fact may, I believe, be depended upon. 

» The Pregident of the United-SUtes. 

t These waters were certainly known at least as early as 1759 or 1760. But I be- 
lieve they did not begin to be frequented, by any considerable number of persons, 
until some years after. The James-riTer Ringworm was very prevalent about the 
year 1766. 

I Dr. Thomas Knox, of Culpeper. 

8 D 

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It may, perhaps, serve to increase our confidence in 
the powers ascribed to the Eupatorium perfoliatum as a 
remedy for herpes, to observe, that the Aya-Poftay which 
of late has excited so much attention, is a species of this 
vast family of plants, and that it also has been celebrated 
as a remedy in certain affections, somewhat allied to 

I CLOSE this article by observing, that every part of 
the Eupatorium perfoliatum may be advantageously em- 
ployed in practice. I believe, from my own observations, 
that the flowers possess the greatest portion of the ac- 
tivity of the plant; and they ought to be kept in the 
shops. As a tonic bitter, I deem them superior to the 
flowers of Camomile, (Anthemis nobilis), for which they 
might be substituted, on many occasions. 

Section III. Stimulants, or Incitants. 

§ I. General Stimulants. 

Kalmia latifoliaf. The powdered leaves of this ve- 
getable have been used, with much success, in some 
cases of intermittentsj. A saturated tincture, prepared 
from the leaves with a proof spirit, is an active medicine, 

* See Mr. Tilloch's valuable Philosophical Magasine, &c Vol. ziii. p. 376, &c. &c. 
t See Part First, p. 18, 48. 
} Dr. Amos Gregg, jun. 

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and perhaps worthy of a place in the shops*. For some 
interesting information concerning the powers of this 
species of Kalmia, and also those of Kalmia angustifolia, 
or Narrow-leaved Kalmia, commonly called Lambkill, &c., 
I beg leave to refer the reader to Dr. George G. Thomas's 
Inaugural Dissertation concerning these plants, published 
at Philadelphia, in 1802. 

Laurus Sassafras. In the First Part of this work, I 
have made mention of the oil of this vegetable, and have 
hinted at its affinity to camphor f. The resemblance be- 
tween the two articles is further evinced by this circum- 
stance, that the oil of Sassafras, when externally applied to 
the body in rheumatic and gouty aflfections, is remarkable 
for its power of shifting the pain from its original seat; but 
not always to the advantage of the patient. Like camphor, 
therefore, it ought ever to be used, in such aflfections, 
with great caution. I believe, however, that it is a medi- 
cine well adapted to many cases of rheumatism, in its 
chronic stage ; though even here it may prove injurious. 

The Phytolacca decandra, well known by the names 
of Poke, Garget, American Nightshade, &c., is one of the 
most common North- American plants. It is, certainly, 
a plant of great activity, though the young shoots, when 
boiled, may be eaten with impunity, and are justly 
deemed a great delicacy. By many, they are preferred 
to the finest asparagus. 

Some of the medicinal powers of this plant have 
long been known. The ripe berries, infused in brandy, 

* A few drops of this tincture, poured upon the body of a large and vigorous 
rattle-snake, in my possession, killed the reptile in a very short time. It violently 
affected the animal, almost instantaneously. 

t Pages 19, 20. 

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or wine, especially the former, are a popular remedy for 
rheumatism, in many parts of the United-States. This 
tincture of Poke {Tinctura Phytolacca) is certainly a 
valuable medicine in cases of chronic rheumatism, and 
other similar affections. Like the volatile tincture of 
gum Guaiacum, it has sometimes done injury; as might 
indeed be expected from an active medicine, in the hands 
of the injudicious or ignorant. It may, I believe, be 
safely exhibited in most of the cases of rheumatism, in 
which the Guaiacum has been used with safety and ad- 
vantage. In the rheumatic affections, which frequently 
succeed to the venereal disease, it seems to be a more 
valuable medicine than the Guaiacum, and may be ad- 
vantageously employed, especially along with calomel, 
or other preparations of mercury. I have employed the 
ripe juice of the berries, inspissated to the state of an 
extract, in some cases of scrophula. The juice, in the 
same state, has, I am informed, been advantageously em- 
ployed in cases of cancerous ulcers. These ulcers were 
dressed with the extract, spread upon linen, or upon the 
leaf of the plant. But the juice of the leaves, applied in 
the same manner, is said to have been found more effica- 
cious. I am inclined to repose some credit in the testi- 
monies which I have collected concerning the utility of 
the extract of Poke, in the cases just mentioned. 

The reader may consult, with advantage. An Inau- 
gural Botanico-Medical Dissertation on the PhytoUuca 
Decandra of Linnceus. By Benjamin Shultz*. As a 
repository of facts concerning the Phytolacca, this dis- 
sertation is valuable, and worthy of attention. But the 
subject is still, in a great measure, a new one. 

• Philadelphia : 1795. 

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Arum triphyllum*. The recent root of this plant 
boiled in milk, so as to communicate to the milk a strong 
impregnation of the peculiar acrimony of the plant, has 
been advantageously employed in cases of consumption 
of the lungs. I have heard of one case (that of a negro 
man in Virginia) who was completely cured of a pulmo- 
nary consumption by continuing to take, for a considera- 
ble time, milk in which the root of the Arum had been 
boiled. It would certainly be worth trying this simple 
prescription in some cases of a disease which so generally 
baffles the powers of all our medicines, and the skill ot 
the best physicians. I am not ignorant, that within the 
period of a very few years, the disease of consumption 
has been supposed to be deprived of some of its terrors; 
but I must add, with real regret, that notwithstanding 
the high encomiums which have been bestowed upon the 
Digitalis as a remedy for this disease, by some distin- 
guished medical philosophers, and practitioners f, I have 
employed this vegetable in a considerable number of 
cases of consumption, and, upon the whole, with very 
inconsiderable permanent advantage. In one case, in- 
deed, it seemed to perform a cure of what I deemed gen- 
uine phthisis: in several other cases, it evidently and 
remarkably aflfected the pulse, and moderated the ur- 
gency of the symptoms; but the patients ultimately fell 
victims to the disease. Some of the patients to whom I 
exhibited the Digitalis were so far advanced in the dis- 
ease, that little benefit could have been expected from 
medicine of any kind: but others of them again were in 
the earlier stages of the disease, and consequently in a 
situation that seemed to admit of permanent relief, from 

* Part First, p. 21, 49, 50. 

t Mr. Saunders, Dr. Thomas Beddoes, Dr. N. Drake, &c. &c. 

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this or from other medicines. Yet, with the exception of 
the case already hinted at, I have not been able to eflFect a 
single cure by means of Digitalis. I am even inclined to 
think, that I have, in several instances*, more considerably 
arrested the progress of phthisis pulmonalis by means of 
emetics (particularly the sulphat of zinc, exhibited in the 
manner recommended by Dr. Moseley f) than by Digfi talis. 
Candour compells me to add, that my own experience with 
the Digitalis in consumption has been less than that of 
several other practitioners in Philadelphia, some of whom 
entertain a more favourable opinion of the medicine, as a 
remedy for consumption, than I do. 

Dr. Storck, of Vienna, has called the attention of 
physicians to a species of Clematis, or Virgin's-Bower, 
the Clematis recta J. This is a very acrid and active 
plant, which Storck recommended in cancerous, venereal 
and other malignant ulcers, and also in obstinate pains of 
the head, and bones, and in other diseases. An infusion 
of the flowers or leaves, and an extract of the plant were 
used internally. The powder was sprinkled upon the 
ulcers, where it was found to act as an excellent escharotic 
and detergent. 

I DO not know that the Clematis recta is a native of 
any part of America. I have been led to mention the 
plant in this place, because the United-States afford us 
some species of the same genus, which, from a few ex- 
periments that I have made with them, promise to be 
useful in medicine. The species which I have more par- 

* Especially in the Pennsylvania Hospital, in the summer of 1803. 
t A Treatise upon Tropical Diseases, &c. &c. p. 541, &c. London : 179a. 
X Upright Virgin's-Bower. Storck calls the plant Plammula Jovis. It is a 
native of Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, and Prance. 

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ticularly attended to, are Clematis crispa, and Clematis 
Vioma. The leaves of these species are extremely acrid, 
and may be found useful in chronic rheumatism, palsy, old 
ulcers; and, in fine, in all the diseases in which Storck 
found the Clematis recta useful*. As they are very ac- 
tive plants, it is necessary to use them in small doses. I 
have received some obscure information concerning the 
employment of one of the species (I think C. crispa), in 
Virginia, as a remedy in some particular aflFections. 

Dr. Schoepp has made no mention of these plants, 
but has proposed the employment of Clematis Virgfiniana, 
as a substitute for Clematis recta f. The C. Virginiana 
is a much more feeble plant than either of the three 
other species which have been mentioned. 

§ II. Topical Stimulants. 

The Pyrola umbellata, already mentioned, may be 
noticed under this head. The bruised leaves of this 
plant, when externally applied, sometimes induce redness, 
vesication and desquamation of the skin. But this is 
by no means a constant operation of the vegetable; and, 
therefore, it does not seem particularly worthy of our 
attention, in this point of view. 

Rhus radicansj. The following observations, rela- 
tive to the deleterious property of this common plant, 

* See Elements of BoUny, &c. Part Third, p. 70. 
t Materia Medica Americana, &c. Praefatio. p. xiii. 
t See Part First, p. 23, 50, 51, 5a. 

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will not, I hope, be unacceptable to those who jure inter- 
ested in a knowledge of its natural history. The person 
who is the subject of the observations, has, for many 
years, been severely aflFected by the plant; and although 
many other persons are similarly aflFected, it is not often, 
I believe, that the progress of the poison is marked with 
minute attention in those who are injured by it. 

On the eighth day of July, 1795, I applied two or 
three drops of the milky juice whilst it issued from the 
common foot-stalk of the leaves of the Rhus radicans, 
to the risband of my shirt. These leaves, immediately 
before, had been torn from the stalk of the plant, by a 
friend of mine*. My object, in applying the juice, was 
to determine, in what length of time it would assume the 
black hue. In a few minutes, I found that the linen was 
stained black, and in a short time after this, I observed 
that the juice had penetrated through the risband, and 
that it had communicated a dark brown or blackish col- 
our to that portion of the epidermis which was imme- 
diately under it. The day was unusually warm, and I 
went into the water to bathe. In the evening, I felt a 
considerable itching of my wrist, and the following morn- 
ing observed, that there were upon it a number of ex- 
tremely minute vesicles, which contained a fluid more or 
less limpid, or transparent. The itching increased hourly : 
the wrist and the middle of the fore-arm began to swell, 
and the vesicles extended themselves rapidly, chiefly 
upwards, towards the elbow, and partly downwards, along 
the lower part of the wrist and upon the fingers. 

• I wai not myself within the sphere of the action of the plant, which I 
was careful to avoid, well knowing, from long experience, its injurious effects 
upon me. 

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Meanwhile, vesicles accompanied with, and preceded 
by, itching more or less troublesome, made their appear- 
ance, upon various other parts of the body. The face was 
universally sprinkled with them. But these were ex- 
tremely small, the fluid which they contained, was always 
very limpid, and without any application, except that of 
cold water every morning, they entirely disappeared in 
two or three days. 

About the seventh or eighth day, the itching, the 
inflammation, and the spread of the vesicles appeared to 
be nearly at their height. At this period, and for some 
days afterwards, the greater part of the fore-arm, and 
about one third of the arm were swelled to nearly twice 
the natural thickness; the itching was intoUerable, and 
the vesicles, in general, were no longer filled with a 
limpid fluid, but contained a thick matter, or pus, very 
similar to that of small-pox, and strongly adhering to 
the linen. 

On the ninth day, I perceived a swelling in the axil- 
lary gland of the right arm, which was that to which the 
lacteous juice was applied, and which was chiefly affected. 
The swelling rapidly encreased, until it became of the 
size of a hen's egg, and on the second day from its ap- 
pearance, it had almost entirely evanished. 

From the period that the swelling was at its height, 
to its entire disappearance, the itching was almost uni- 
versal, and much more insupportable than it was before. 
I attributed this itching to the influence of the poison, 
which, I suppose, was conveyed into the system, from 
the time that the axillary gland began to swell and 
inflame. Nevertheless, I could not discover that there 


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was, in consequence of this supposed absorption of the 
poison, any increase of the number of vesicles upon the 
surface of the body. 

In fifteen days from the time that the poison was first 
applied to my arm, all the disagreeable symptoms had 
ceased; the vesicles had almost entirely disappeared; a 
desquamation of the affected parts had taken place, and 
a new epidermis had been formed. 

From the foregoing statement, it must appear evident, 
that to some constitutions the milk-like juice of the Rhus 
radicans is capable of producing very disagreeable effects. 
It must not, however, be imagined that these effects are 
equally disagreeable to all constitutions; and it is certain 
that there are many persons who are not at all affected 
by this plant. 

It has been asserted, that persons of the most irritable 
habits of body are the most liable to be effected by the 
Rhus radicans, and by some other species of the same 
genus. I do not intend to oppose myself as an excep- 
tion to this position; but from the recollection of the 
constitutions of several persons to whom this poison has 
been applied, I have very little hesitation in asserting, 
that the susceptibility of receiving its influence is by no 
means proportional to the degree of irritability, whether 
muscular or mental, of the habit. It may, I believe, be 
asserted with much more truth, that the susceptibility of 
receiving the influence of the poison of the Rhus radi- 
cans is somewhat proportional to the delicacy and thin- 
ness of the epidermis and skin. Hence, no doubt, it is 
that females are more liable to be poisoned by this plant 
than males; that the face is seldom so much affected by 

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it as the arms, the genitals, and most other parts of the 
body that are protected from the constant influence of 
the air; and that young persons are more frequently poi- 
soned than those who have arrived at the age of manhood, 
or who have passed to the term of older age. 

I HAVE said, that there are many persons who are not, 
in the least, affected by the poison of the Rhus radicans, 
externally applied. This is an undoubted fact. Some 
of these persons after expressing the juice of the plant, 
will rub it upon their arms, and other parts of their bodies, 
without experiencing the smallest injurious effect. I am 
acquainted with two gentlemen, who find no ill effects 
from chewing, for a considerable time, the recent leaves 
of this plant. It deserves to be mentioned, that one of 
the gentlemen, I allude to, is liable to be considerably 
injured by the effluvia of the Rhus radicans, when applied 
to the external surface of his body. 

It may not be improper to observe, in this place, that 
several other native plants besides the species of Rhus, and 
the Pyrola umbellata, induce in certain persons, a vesicular 
state of the skin. The flowers of the Kalmia latifolia, or 
Broad-leaved Laurel, have been known to do this in some 
persons. I knew an elderly lady who was affected, in the 
same way, by the Nerium Oleander, or* Common-Oleander, 
or Rosebay. But this last is not an American vegetable. 

A DECOCTION of the bark of the Rhus radicans has 
been used, with seeming advantage, in some cases of 
consumption of the lungs, in different parts of Pennsyl- 
vania. A gentleman of my acquaintance (who has since 
fallen a victim to the disease) informed me, that he had 
certainly found much benefit from this decoction in a 

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pulmonary affection, complicated with fistula in ano. 
A decoction of the root of the plant is said to have been 
advantageously employed in cases of asthma. 

A LATE writer, M. du Fresnoi, strongly recommends 
the Rhus radicans, in the treatment of herpetic affections, 
and in paralysis. In the first of these cases, he employed 
the infusion and the distilled water of the leaves of the 
plant. He relates seven cases, which seem to establish, 
unequivocally, the efficacy of these preparations in the 
affections which I have mentioned. He says he cured 
five cases of paralysis by the use of the plant*. Dr. 
Alderson informs us, that he has used the Rhus Toxico- 
dendron, with much benefit, in the same disease f. 

The bark of the Rhus glabrum, or Smooth Pennsyl- 
vania Sumach t, boiled in milk, has been recommended 
as a remedy for chronic ulcers ; and, I am informed, has 
been found very useful. The ulcers are often washed 
with the decoction. 

Section IV. Sialagoga. 

I HAVE nothing additional to say under the head of 
particular Errhines, and therefore proceed to the sec- 
tion of SiALAGOGA, or SALIVATING medicines. Between 
these and the Errhines, there is a very great affinity; as 

* Des proprietes de la plante, appellee, Rhus radicans ; de son utilite, &c. &c. 
A I^eipsic : 1788. I haye not seen the original work. 

t An Essay on the Rhus Toxicodendron, or Pubescent Poison-Oak, or Su- 
mach, &c. By John Alderson, M. D. Hull: 1796. 

X Part First, p. 51. 

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is evinced by this circumstance, that several articles of 
the materia medica, both minerals and vegetables, very 
frequently act by increasing the secretion by the nose, and 
also that by the salivary glands. This is remarkably the 
case with respect to the sulphat of mercury, or turpith- 
mineral; and, in one instance, I think I have seen a saliva- 
tion decidedly induced by the use of the turpith mineral, 
in combination with tobacco, that had been used, for some 
weeks, as an errhine. This will the more readily be ad- 
mitted as a fact, when we read, that a very extensive sali- 
vation of long continuance, has been apparently induced 
by an irritation applied to the parotid gland, through the 
medium of the meatus audiiorius. The irritating sub- 
stance was a portion of fetid wool*. It would be an 
easy task to cumulate facts to prove, that **the number 
" of salivating medicines is much greater than has been 
" commonly imagined f." 

PoLYGALA Senega, or Seneca Snake-root J. My in- 
genious pupil. Dr. Thomas Walmsley has lately commu- 
nicated to me an additional instance of the salivating 
power of this active vegetable. The patient (a lady aged 

about years) had taken, for some time, a decoction 

of the Seneca, and was thrown into a profuse ptyalism, 
which continued for a considerable time. 

It is a well-ascertained fact, that the disease of teta- 
nus has often been induced by diflFerent poisonous veg- 
etables: by Datura Stramonium, Hyoscyamus albus, or 
White-Henbane, not to mention several others. The 

* See Medicftl Transactions, published by the College of physicians in London, 
vol. n. p. 34, ate. 

t See Part First, p. 24, 

X See Part First, p. 25. 

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same disease is likewise sometimes induced by the healthy 
or natural poisons of certain animals. I have collected 
two well-authenticated instances of the production of this 
disease, by the bites of venemous serpents, in the United- 
States. One of the patients died. The tetanus did not 
come on until six or seven days after she was bitten. 
The other recovered from the disease, by the use of large 
doses of the Seneca, boiled in milk*. I know not 
whether this instance of success should encourage us to 
hope that the Seneca might be given, with advantage, in 
those cases of tetanus which are the consequence of 
wounds, in diflFerent parts of the body. I fear that our 
vegetable, though by no means a feeble one, will be found 
unequal to the cure of this terrible disease. 

The Zanthoxylum Clava Herculis and Zanthoxylum 
fraxinifolium are both mentioned in the First Part of 
these Collections f. They are both vegetables endued with 
very active powers. The bark promises to be a very useful 
medicine in cases of paralytic aflFections of the tongue, or 
of the muscles concerned in deglutition : and in such cases, 
when held in the mouth, they have been employed 
with advantage J. They are more active than Mezereon 
(Daphne Mezereum), which both Dr. Withering § and 
myself have employed, with a good eflFect, in the same 
cases. It might, perhaps, be worth trying the Zanthoxyla, 
as masticatories, in some cases of stammering. 

In some parts of Virginia, the berries of Zanthoxy- 
lum fraxinifolium are much esteemed as a remedy in 

* See Elements of Botany, &c. Part Third, p. 105. 
t See p. 25, 53. 

J By Dr. Tucker Harris, of Charleston, South-Carolina. 
I A Systematic Arrangement, &c, vol. II, p. 370. 

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violent cholicy aflFections. A spirituous infusion of the 
berries is employed. They are known by the name of 
" Suter's-berries." 

For some interesting notices concerning the use of 
the bark of Zanthoxylum Clava Herculis, in rheumatic 
affections, in ulcers, &c. &c. &c., I refer the reader to 
different communications, in the Memoirs of the Medical 
Society of London^ ^ and other periodical publications. 

Section V. Emetics. 

Spir^a trifoliataf. This is sometimes very injudi- 
ciously employed by the country-people, insomuch that 
they are obliged to apply for medical aid to remove the 
debility induced by the large doses of the root which 
they employ. "It is said, that there grows in the state 
"of Kentucky, another species, which is still more 
"valuable, as an emetic, than the S. trifoliataj." 

The emetic power of the Sanguinaria Canadensis, of 
which I have taken notice in the former part of this 
work§, has been fully established by the experiments of 
Dr. Downey, in his ingenious essay upon this plant. 
The "most prominent effect" of the medicine is to induce 
vomiting, even when it is exhibited in moderate doses. 
"When taken in the dose of fifteen or twenty grains,'* 
it exerts powerful emetic qualities. " But in consequence 
" of the irritation, which is produced in the fauces, it is 

* Vol. v. 

t Part Firit, p. 26. 

1 Blements of Botany, &c. Part III. p. 89. 

2 Page 27. 

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** probable, that in the form of a powder, it will never 
" come into general use. This inconvenience may, how- 
** ever, be obviated, by giving it in form of a decoction 
** or extract." When managed with care, it is deemed 
** but little inferior to the ipecacuanha, either in the cer- 
"tainty or speediness of its operation*. The powder of 
** the root may be given as an emetic for an adult, in the 
" dose of fifteen or twenty grains, made into pills, other- 
" wise a considerable irritation will be produced in the 
** fauces in taking itf." 

Hitherto, the Sanguinaria has been but little em- 
ployed by the regular practitioners. It promises, how- 
ever, to be an useful medicine, particularly on the foun- 
dation of its emetic and expectorant effects, in cases of 
cynanche maligna, or ulcerous sore-throat, in cynanche 
trachealis, or hives, and other similar affections. Its 
properties seem to be considerably allied to those of the 
Seneca Snake-root, which has been so beneficially em- 
ployed in the same cases J. I have received an account 
of its having been employed, in the shape of a decoction, 
with very evident good effect, in the case of that partic- 
ular form of cynanche trachealis, which Dr. Darwin has 
named Peripneumonia trachealis^. The medicine proved 
emetic, and the patient recovered. 

* An Investigation of the properties of the Sanguinaria Canadensis, or Puccoon. 
By William Downey, of Maryland. Philadelphia : 1803. 

t An Investigation, &c. pages 23, 25. 

\ See Part First, p. 33, 34, 54, 55» 

\ Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life. Vol. I. The disease of hives appears 
under several different shapes, in all of which the trachea seems to be essentially 
affected. In the course of my practice, I have met with some cases, which answer 
precisely to Darwin's description, and for which I think the term peripneumonia 
trachealis is a very appropriate one. If I do not mistake, this form of the disease, 
in general, more readily admits of early and complete relief than any of the other 
shapes in which it appears. 

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I HAVE already observed, that the seeds of the San- 
guinaria "appear to possess nearly the same quality as 
the "seeds of Datura Stramonium*.*' That is, they 
induce fever, delirium, dilatation of the pupil of the 
eye, &c. Dr. Downey concludes, from a few experiments, 
which he made with the " unripe seeds," that they pos- 
" sess a very considerable influence over the pulse, and 
" a stupifying or narcotic quality f." A deleterious prop- 
erty evidently resides in the leaves of the plant t as well 
as in the seeds. 

Section VI. Cathartics. 

Under this head, in the former part of the work §, 
I have mentioned the Asclepias decumbens, commonly 
called Pleurisy-root, Flux-root, &c. The root of this 
plant does, unquestionably, possess a purgative quality. 
But this does not seem to be the most valuable part of 
its properties. It is said to possess a remarkable power 
of affecting the skin, inducing general and plentiful per- 
spiration, without greatly increasing the heat of the body. 
Accordingly, I find it is much employed by the practi- 
tioners of medicine in some parts of the United-States, 
particularly, I believe, in Virginia, as a remedy in cer- 
tain forms of fever, in pleurisy, and other affections. 
The root is used both in powder and in decoction. 

♦ Part Pint, p. aj. 

t An Investigation, &c. p. 24. 

X Ibid. p. 24. 

I Page 29. See, al«o, page 53. 

9 F 

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Sometimes, it is used in combination with antimonials. 
The decoction often induces perspiration, when other 
medicines have failed to produce this eflFect. A physi- 
cian*, who has been much in the habit of emplojdng 
this Asclepias, informs me, that 4n the low states of 
* typhus fever, he has more frequently observed a per- 
'spiration to succeed to the use of the Asclepias than to 
*any of the sudorifics that are generally used.' 

About thirty years ago, this vegetable was strongly 
recommended, as a specific for pleurisy, by a^ Mr. Thom- 
son Mason, of Virginia. After the use of an antimonial 
emetic, and the loss of some blood, he gives his patients 
"as much of the Pleurisy-root, potmded very fine, and 
" then searched through a fine search, as will lie upon 
** a tolerable broad case knife, in a cup of warm water, 
** and repeats the dose every two hours, until the patient 
" is perfectly recovered, which happens frequently after 
" three days, and never fails freeing him from pain after 
" six." Mr. Thomson assures us, that by these simple 
means, he "has cured hundreds, and never failed in a 
" single instance." 

It does not appear, that Mr. Thomson was a regular 
physician; but I have been led to mention his practice 
the more particularly, because his publication seems to 
have first called the attention of the public to the virtues 
of the Pleurisy-root, and I know that some very respect- 
able physicians, in Virginia f, have reposed not a little 

♦ Dr. Charles Everett. I^etter to me, dated Milton, October a3d» 1803. 

t Among others, my friend, the late Dr. James Greenway, of Dinwiddie- 
county, in Virginia. Prom this gentleman, I received a copy of Thomson's paper, 
which I think first made its appearance in an Almanac, in 1773. 

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confidence in the powers which our author has ascribed 
to the medicine, as a remedy in the cases in which he 
employed it 

From Mr. Thomson's publication, it also appears, 
that the Pleurisy-root may be given in pretty large doses, 
perhaps about half a dram, several times in the course 
of the day. Indeed, I find that the Virginia physicians 
are not very nice in the doses of this medicine, when 
they prescribe it. 

It seems that Mr. Thomson entirely confined himself 
to the use of the Asclepias decumbens, or the species with 
beautiful orange-coloured blossoms. He observes, how- 
ever, that there are two other species of the Pleurisy- 
root, which are known by the name of "Butterfly- weed." 
It is probable, therefore, that these two kinds (one of 
which I take for Asclepias Syriaca, well known by the 
names of Wild-Cotton, and Cotton-plant) have some- 
times been used for the Asclepias decumbens ; and it is 
not unlikely, that a common assemblage of properties 
belongs to a number of the species of this fine family 
of plants. Asclepias Vincetoxicum, which is a native of 
Europe, has been recommended by some writers on the 
Materia Medica, as a remedy for dysentery, and other 

I have already mentioned* the extract of the Juglans 
cinereaf, or Butternut-Walnut. This appears to me to 
be one of our most valuable native cathartics. It is well 
adapted to the treatment of dysentery, in which, however, 
it seems to operate merely as a laxative. A decoction of 

♦ See Part First, p. 31. 

t Juglans oblonga alba of Marshall. 

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the inner bark {liber) of the tree has been very advantage- 
ously used as a cathartic, in that malignant fever of our 
horsesi called the yellow-water, which I formerly noticed*. 

The green or unripe fruit of this vegetable is consid- 
erably acrid, and when applied externally to the skin, in- 
duces some irritation there. Advantage has been taken 
of this property by the country-people in some parts of 
the United-States. They apply the cut end of the fruit to 
those milk-white spots which often appear upon different 
parts of the body, and seem to arise from a removal of the 
rete mucosum, or perhaps rather its colouring matter, from 
the skin. A surgeon, whom I met with in the remote 
parts of the state of New-York, in the year 1797, informed 
me, that he had known the Butternut employed with the 
effect of entirely removing the white nuiculce^ or spots in 
some persons. I should have confidently ascribed the 
removal of these spots to the stimulant operation of the 
juice of the nut, if I had not been assured, that similar 
affections are sometimes removed by the simple applica- 
tion of cream and other articles, which can hardly be sup- 
posed to operate by virtue of a stimulant power. I am, 
however, the more inclined to ascribe the removal of the 
spots to the stimulant action of the nut, because in a case 
of this kind, that came under my own notice, I found 
much advantage from the application of a blister of can- 
tharides to the affected parts. The spots were not only 
prevented from increasing, but were very sensibly dimin- 
ished in size, by the action of the cantharides. I have the 
satisfaction to believe, that by this simple treatment, I pre- 
vented the colouring matter of the mucous membrane from 
being entirely removed from one side, at least, of the face. 

• See Part First, p. la. 

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I SHAi^i* close this article by observing, that the spots 
of which I have been speaking, are mentioned by dif- 
ferent writers, but by none, I believe, more particularly or 
correctly, than by my learned friend Professor Blumen- 
bach, of Gottingen. After speaking of the white spots 
which often make their appearance upon the bodies of 
negroes, and other dark-coloured people (see his section 
cutis fusca nuuulis candidis variegatd)^ he has the follow- 
ing words: "Niveae vero istae et aequabiles moUesque 
" maculae quae non nisi actionem alienatam vasculorum 
" minimorum corii sequuntur, neutiquam inter Aethiopes 
"tantum verum etiam passim inter nostrates occurrunt; 
''mihique ipsi bina istiusmodi exempla in Germanicis 
" hominibus observandi occasio fuit, alterum viri juvenis, 
"alterum senis sexaginta et quod excurrit annorum. 
"Utrique cutis subfusca hinc illinc maculis diversae 
'* magnitudinis candidissimis distincta: quae vero neutri 
** connatae, sed isti infantili aetate, huic contra virili sen- 
** sim et sua sponte subortae ftierant*." 

Section VII. Diuretics. 

I HAVE little to say under this head. I believe, how- 
ever, that it is a fact, that several of our indigenous 
vegetables, of which no notice has been taken in the 
preceding part of the Collections^ are very powerful 
Diuretics: but my knowledge of these plants is, as yet, 
very imperfect. 

* De Generis Hnmani rarietate nativa, &c. p. 154, 155. Gottingrae : i79S- 

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The Erigeron PhUadelphicum, or Philadelphia Flea- 
Bane, is one of the most common plants in many parts 
of the United-States. A decoction or infusion of the 
plant has been nsed in Philadelphia, by several persons, 
for gonty and gravelly complaints, and some of them 
have informed me, that they have been much benefited 
by the use of the plant*. It operates powerfully as a 
diuretic, and also as a sudorific. This Erigeron is known 
in Pennsylvania by the name of Skevish, which I sus- 
pect is a corruption of the word Scabious. But it must 
be confessed, that the genera Scabiosa (Scabious) and 
Erigeron are sufficiently remote from each other. 

I HAVE never employed the Erigeron Philadelphicum, 
in practice: but I am led to believe, that there is some 
foundation for the assertions which I have noticed, be- 
cause I find that the same plant is mentioned by Father 
Ivoureiro, as one of the remedies that are employed by 
the people of Cochinchina; and he speaks of it as an 
active emmenagoguef. 

In Virginia, there is a plant called " Piss- wort," which 
is deemed a very powerful diuretic. I am unacquainted 
with the plant, which, however, has been mentioned to 
me by a respectable physician, who informs me, that he 
once saw a strong decoction of it given to a horse, labour- 
ing under strangury, with the effect of suddenly exciting 
a very copious flow of urine. Perhaps, it will be found 
that this plant is a species of Menispermum, or Moon- 
seed, of which genus there are several species indigenous 
within the limits of the United-States. 

* See Elements of Botany, &c. Part Third, p. 123. 

t Flora Cochinchinensis, &c. Tom. II. p. 500. Ulyssiponse : 1790. 

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Section VIII. Antiuthics. 

By this term of Antii^ithics, I mean those medi- 
cines which give relief in the disease of liihtastSy or cal- 
culus, and also in nephritis when this depends upon the 
same causes that induce calculus, such as a gouty diathe- 
sis, not to mention others. I prefer this term to the old 
one of LiTHONTRiPTics, which has so generally been 
employed to denote a set of medicines which produce the 
eflfects I have mentioned. Lithontriptics, in the rigid 
sense of this term, are, I think, unknown to us ; though 
I do not deny, that the long-continued use of lime-water 
and other similar medicines, may on some occasions, 
have acted partially by dissolving, or otherwise altering, the 
surface of urinary and other calculi. Meanwhile, we are 
certain, that in many instances where Uva Ursi and other 
medicines have greatly relieved the distressing symptoms 
induced by calculus, the latter has remained undissolved, 
and its form, perhaps, not in the least, altered. 

The real mode of operation of the Antilithics is 
unknown to us. It seems highly probable, however, 
that many of thein produce their eflfects by virtue of 
an astringent quality. We, at least, find that not a few 
of the astringents, such as Uva Ursi*, some species of 
Geranium, &c., do give relief in many cases of nephri- 
tis and calculus f. Dr. CuUen imagines, that the astrin- 
gents act, in this case, by absorbing an acid in the 
stomachy. But this appears to be a frivolous theory, 

• See pagre 3. 

t J. H. Heucher. 

X A Treatise of the Materia Medica. Vol. II. p. 13, &c. 

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unsupported by any respectable body of facts. The 
mode of operation of the astringents, is not completely 
understood; and in ascertaining the fact, that these 
medicines are antilithics, we have only advanced one 
step towards the discovery of truth. But whatever may 
be the precise manner of acting of the astringents in cases 
of nephritis and calculus, we are certain, that an antili- 
thic property belongs to many articles which have little 
or no claim to the character of astringents. Such are 
some of the plants of the genus Allium, or Garlic, as 
the Leek (Allium Porrum), &c.: also carbonic acid, and 
carbonate of soda, not to mention several others. 

It is much to be regretted, that this most important 
subject should still be involved in so much uncertainty, 
notwithstanding the late laborious and ingenious inquiries 
of Fourcroy, Pearson, and other philosophers, who have 
favored us with the results of their experiments, relative 
to the analysis of human and other calculi. But on this 
subject much remains to be done ; and although it is not 
probable, that we shall soon, if ever, discover a solvend 
for calculi in the body, it is highly likely, that a more 
extensive and correct acquaintance with the intimate 
nature of these concretions, will, in time, conduct us to a 
knowledge of the means oi preventing their formation. 

I HAVE but little to say on the subject of particular An- 
tilithics. Indeed, it must be confessed, that our catalogue 
of articles that are deserving of this title is very small. 

Of the Uva Ursi, I have already taken some notice*. 
I have also observed, that the Pyrola umbellata has been 

* See Part First, p. 9, zo See also page 3, of the present part. 

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employed with advantage in nephritic aflfections*. The 
good eflfects of the kernels of Corylus Americana have 
been noticed f, as have those of the Philadelphia Flea-bane, 
or Erigeron Philadelphicum %. I have not, however, em- 
ployed any of these articles in the disease of nephritis, 
except the Uva Ursi, which is, unquestionably, a valu- 
able antilithic. I have often prescribed this medicine, 
and have known it to be useful, even when it was ascer- 
tained that a calculus was present. It is certain that it 
does relieve the disagreeable symptoms which are the 
consequence of the irritation of a stone ; and some facts 
which have come under my own observation, indepen- 
dently on those which I have met with in medical authors, 
have led me to believe, that the use of this astringent 
medicine facilitates the expulsion of calculous granules, 
through the urethra. In what manner this eflFect is ac- 
complished, I am unable to say. I must add, however, 
that in some nephritic cases, Uva Ursi seems to increase 
the irritation which it so generally relieves. 

I HAVE already observed, that the root of Convolvulus 
panduratus "has been much recommended in cases of 
" gravel §.'* Since the publication of the former part 
of the Collections^ I have received some additional and 
more certain information on this subject. In particular, 
I have learned, that an infusion or decoction of the root 
has been often used by a physician tt of New- Jersey, 
who has found the medicine very useful in his own case. 
He is persuaded, that it has enabled him to pass the 
calculous granules, with much facility. 

• See p. 2, 3. t See p. 3. 

J See p. 46. 

I See Part First, p. 54. 

\X Dr. Harris. 

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Section IX. Anthelmintics. 

It has been asserted, that Worms, as constitutiiig a 
disease, are more common in America than in Europe. 
I suspect that there is some foundation for this assertion, 
though I am sensible, that the assertion ought to be 
received with some hesitation. A larger body of facts 
should be collected, before the truth can be completely 

I HAVE already observed, that the Indian children, 
in some parts of the United-States, are very "subject to 
worms, and to the larvce of insects, introduced into 
the system, along with their crude, and often unwhole- 
some, aliment*." It is, moreover, a fact that great num- 
bers of these children fall victims to the diseases induced 
by worms. This is acknowledged by many of the Indians 
with whom I have conversed. The Oneidas preserve a 
very curious tradition concerning one of these epidemick 
worm-fevers, and inform us, that in consequence of the 
destruction which it occasioned among their children, 
the nation relinquished a station which it had long 
occupied, on the margin of the Oneida-Lake, and took 
possession of another, at some distance from the Lake. 
It has, however, been asserted by some ingenious writers, 
that diseases from worms are unknown among the 
Indians t* My own observations and inquiries lead me 

* Sec Part First, p. 37, &c. 

t Dr. Rush sasrs, he " cannot find any accounts of diseases from worms, among 
" the Indians.*' " Nor does dentition (he observes) appear to be a disorder among 
"the Indians. The facility with which the healthy children of healthy parents 
*' cut their teeth, among civilized nations, gives us reason to conclude, that the 
" Indian children never suffer from this quarter." See An Oration, &c, containing 
an Bnquiry into the Natural History of Medicine among the Indians of North- 
America, &c. &c. p. 26. Philadelphia : 1774. 

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to adopt a very opposite opinion. Indeed, the children 
of the Indians seem to suffer not much less from 
worms, and from dentition, than the children of the 
Europo- Americans. 

Whatever foundation there may be for the assertion, 
that worms are peculiarly common in North-America, it 
will not be denied| that the subject of Anthelmintic medi- 
cines is one well worthy of attention. On this account, 
I shall introduce into this place a few additional notices 
on the subject. I begin with those vegetables which are 
most obviously characterized by a tonic quality. 

A STRONG decoction of the bark of the Pnmus Vir- 
giniana* has been employed, with a good effect, in some 
cases of worms. Whether this bark operates by any 
other than by a tonic quality, I am unable to say. It will 
not be denied, that many of the bitter tonic medicines 
are, on many occasions, excellent anthelmintics. But I 
am very far from believing, with some ingenious writers f, 
that the tonic medicines are always the best anthelmintics. 
In the epidemic verminose fevers, which often prevail in 
the marshy tracts of country, and are evidently owing to 
the same causes that induce common intermittents and 
remittents, the Peruvian bark and other similar medi- 
cines may be used with peculiar advantage. Moreover, 
tonics are at all times properly exhibited, with a view 
to prevent worms from increasing in the system. But 
many articles that are not at all, or at least very inconsid- 
erably, tonic, are among the most valuable anthelmintics 
with which we are acquainted. 

• Sec p. 21, 22. 

t Mr. James Moore. " Bark (says this author) is perhaps the best of all worm- 
' powders." An Essay on the Materia Medica, &c. p. 148. I<ondon : 1792. 

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The Veratrum luteum*, commonly called Devil's 
bit, and BlazingStar, is entitled to notice. The root of 
this plant is a very pungent bitter, and is employed as a 
tonic, in some parts of the United-States. A spirituous 
infusion of the root is made use of. A tea, or watery infu- 
sion, of the root is often used, and is deemed an excellent 
anthelmintic. I presume, it does not operate merely by 
virtue of its bitter or tonic property. A narcotic quality 
seems to belong to this vegetable, and I am inclined to 
think, that its good eflFects, in cases of cholic, and perhaps, 
in cases of worms, are, in part at least, owing to this 

A WATERY infusion of the twigs and leaves of the 
Laurus Benzoin, formerly mentioned f, is often given to 
children, with a view to destroy and dislodge worms, and 
is deemed an efficacious medicine in this case. 

The root of the Sanguinaria Canadensis, exhibited 
with a view to its emetic eflFect, has, in some instances, 
dislodged worms from the stomach. Future experiments 
must determine, how far this active article is entitled to 
the character of an anthelmintic. Perhaps, Ipecacuanha, 
or any other emetic, would be found equally beneficial, 
in similar cases. 

In the course of my journey through Virginia, in the 
year 1802, I was informed, that the ripe fruit of the Per- 
simmon (Diospyros Virginianat) has often been found 
very useful in the worm-cases of the negro and other 

* I take this plant to be the Melanthium dioicum of Walter. See mv Elements 
of Botany, &c. Part Third, p. 157. Ac. 

t See Part First, p. 30. 

X See Part First, p. 11. 

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children. I cannot discover any thing peculiarly active 
in this fruit, in the condition in which it is employed as 
an anthelmintic. Perhaps, it operates solely by virtue 
of a laxative property. 

I CONTINUE to use and experience the good eflFects of 
the Melia Azedarach*. I believe this is one of the most 
valuable anthelmintics, that has hitherto been discovered. 
Of late, the dried berries have been advantageously em- 
ployed as an anthelmintic, in Carolina. With a view to 
this effect, children are permitted to eat the berries, with- 
out any particular regard to the dose. They are, by some, 
deemed as efficacious as the bark of the tree. I have 
employed the powdered leaves, but am not yet prepared 
to oflFer a positive report concerning their comparative 
powers. On the subject of the anthelmintic and other 
properties of the Melia, the reader will do well to consult 
my friend, Dr. G. DuvalPs Inaugural Dissertation f. 

• See Part First, p. 39, 61, 6a, 63. 

t An Bxperimental Botanico-Medical Essay on the Melia Asedarach of Linnaeus. 
By Grafton Duvall, of Maryland. Philadelphia: z8oa. 



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about the middle of April, and terminate in the first 
week of July. 

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The Lectures on Materia Medica, and those 
on Natural History*, commence, annually,' in 
the first week of November, and terminate in the 
first week of March. 

* These are two distinct Courses of I^ectures. 

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Digitized by VjOO^IC 
-^^: _^ =SL-= s^mmimimm 



Abscess, lumbar, ai 

Adams. Mr., 9 

Alder, Black, 4i 5 

Alder, Candle, 5 

Alder, Swamp, 5 

Aldersoo, Dr. John, 36 

Allium, 48 

American Beach-tree, 6 

American Bog-Gale, 5 

American Elk, ao 

American Ha^enut, 3 

American N^htshade, 27 

Anasarcous dropsies, 6 

Anthelmintics, 50. 51* 5a* 53 

Anthemis nobilis, ao 

Antilithics, 47, 48, 49 

Antimonial Emetic, 4a 

Antimonials, 4a 

Antimony, vegetable, 34 

Arbutus UvaUrsi, 3 

Aristolochia Sernentaria, xiv, xv 

Arsenic, Oxyd of, 8 

Arsenic, vi, 9, 19 

Arum tnphyllum, ag 

Asclepias, .' 4a 

Asclepias decumbens 43 

Asclepias Syriaca, 43 

Asclepias Yincetoxicum, 43 

Asthma, 36 

Astringents, ... xiv, i, a, 4, 5, 6, 7, 

. « 9* ^7* 48 

Aya-Pana, 96 

Bbach-orops, 6 

Beach-tree, American, 6 

Beaver-tree, ao 

Beddoes, Dr. Thomas ag 

Betula serrulata, 5 

Bicomes, a 

Bites of venomous serpents, 38 

Bitters la, 16 

Bitter tonic medicines, i4» 5> 

Black-Alder 4. 5 

Blaxing Star, 5a 

Blumenbacb, Professor 45 

Bog-Gale, American, 5 

Bone-set 33 

Broad-leaved Laurel, 35 

Broom-rape^ Greater, 9 

Broom-rape, Virginian 6 

Butterfly-weed, 43 

Butter-nut ••.... xiv, 44 

Butternut-Walnut, 43 

Calculi, Urinary 47 

Calculous affections 3 

Calculus, 47t 48* 49 

Calomel. a8 

Camomile, a6 

Camphor, 27 

Cancerous affections, 7 

Cancerous ulcers 8, a8, 30 

Cancer powders, 9 

Cancer-powder, Dr. Hugh Martin's, . . 7 

Cancer-root, 6, 7, 9 

Cancers. a 

Candle-Alder, 5 

Candle-berry Myrtle, 4 

Cantharides. blister of, 4^ 

Carbonate of Soda, 48 

10 ( 


Carbonic acid ^ 

Cardinal-Flower xiv 

Carolina Pink-root, xiv 

Cathartics, ao, 41, 43, 44 

Centaurium, 15 

Centory, Lesser, 15 

Gentry 15 

Cerasus Virginiana, ai 

Cervus Wapiti. ao 

Chironia angularis, 15 

Chironia Centaurium, 15 

Cholic^ 53 

Chronic Rheumatism, a8 

Chronic Ulcers, 36 

Cinchona, x, xiv 

Cinchona officinalis, 17 

Clematis, 30 

Clematis crispa 31 

Clematis recta, 30 

Clematis Viorna^ 31 

Clematis Virginiana, 31 

Collin, Dr. Nicholas, 19 

Colliquative Sweats, aa 

Columbo, ii> 13, 13 

Common Oleander, 35 

Common Safe, 33 

Common White Laurel-tree, ai 

Consumption of the lungs, . . . ai, 39' 35 

Convolvulus panduratus, ^9 

Copperas, xiv 

Cornel, 17 

Cornus, xiv 

Cornus florida xiv 

Cornus sericea, xiv, 17, 18, ao 

Corylus Americana, 49 

Cotton-plant. 43 

Cotton, Wild, 43 

Cross-wort, 33 

Crow-foot X, 9 

Cullen, Dr,, 10, 13, 47 

Cynanche maligna. 40 

Cynanche tracheaus 40 

Daphne Mezereum, 38 

Darwin, Dr., 40 

Datura Stramonium, 37* 4> 

Debility, 90 

Delirium, 41 

Dentition, 50 

De Pauw, xv 

Desquamation, 31 

Detergent, 30 

Devil^ bit, 53 

Diathesis, Gouty, 47 

Digitalis, vi, xii, 39, 30 

Dilatation of the pupil of the eye, .... 41 

Diospyros.Virginiana, 59 

Diuretics, ^5, 46 

Dogwood, XIV, 17 

Downey, Dr. William, ... . 39, 40, 41 

Drake, Dr. N., 39 

Dropsies, a 

Dropsies, anasarcous, 6 

Dutch-Mvrtle, 5 

Duvall, Dr. Grafton, 53 

Dysentery, 7* 43 

Dyspepsia, 31 

Elk. American 80 

Elk-Bark, 30 

V ) 

Digitized by 


( vi ) 


Emetic, antimonial, 4a 

Emetics, xit, aa, yo, 39, 40, 5a 

Emmeoaf ogue, 46 

Epidemic verminote fevers, 51 

Ericae, a 

Erigeron Philadelphicum, 46* 49 

Errhines, 36 

Escharouc, 30 

Eupatorium, 34 

Eupatprium connatum, a3 

Eupatbrium perfoliatum, . . xiv, aa, as, ao 

Eupatorium Virginianum a3 

Euphorbia Ipecacuanha, xiv 

Everett, Charles, ao, 4a 

Expectorant, 40 

Eye, Dilatation of the pupil of the, ... 41 

Facus fbrruginba, 6 

Fevers, «6, 41 

Fevers, epidemic verminose, 51 

Fevers, intermittent, . . xiv, xvi, 4, 6, x8 

19, ao, ai, a3, 24, a6, 51 

Fevers, remitting, 33, 51 

Fever, hectic, aa 

Fever of horses, malignant, 44 

Fever, typhus, 42 

Fever, Yellow, ... 16, a4 

Fish-ffall, 14 

Fistula in ano, 36 

Flag, XIV 

Flammula Jovis 30 

Flea-Bane, Philadelphia, 46, 49 

Floyer, Sir John, 9 

Flux*root, 41 

Fourcroy, 3 

Fowler's Solution 19 

Frasera Caroliniensis, 16 

Frasera Walteri v, 16 

FresnoL M. du, 36 

Gall, &sh, 14 

Gall, ox, 1^ 

Gangrene, 6 

Garget, aj 

Garlic 48 

Gentian, 14 

Gentiana 16 

Gentiana Centaurium, 15 

Gentiana lutea, , 14 

Geranium 47 

Geranium maculatum, % . . . t 

Gleeu, I 

Gonorrhoea, x 

Gout, la 

Gouty affections, 27, 46 

Gouty diathesis, 47 

Gravelly complaints, 46* 49 

Greater Broom-rape, 9 

Greenway, Dr. James, 4a 

d'^SS* j*'v ^^' Amos, ao, a6 

Ground-Holly, • • a 

Guaiacum, x, xii, a8 

Guaiacum tincture, a8 

Hamorrhagbs prom tmb utbrus, ... 4 

Haller, Albert von, 10 

Harris, Dr., 49 

Harris, Dr. Tucker 38 

Haxlenut, American, 3 

Hectic fever. . aa 

Henbane, White 37 

Herpes, 25, a6 

Herpetic affection, 34, 36 

Heucher, J. H., 47 

Heuchera Americana, a 

Heuchera Cortusa, a 

Hives, 40 

Holly, Ground, a 

Horses, malignant fever of, 44 

Hydrastis, 14 

Hydrastis Canadensis, v, 13 

Hyoscyamus albus, 37 

Ilex (?) Canadensis, 5 

InciUnts, a6 

Indian-Bark, ao 


Indian Physic, xiv 

Indian Sa^e, 33 

Inflammation of the eyes, 14 

Inflammatory Rheumatism, ao 

Intermittent Fevers, . . . xiv, xri, 4, 6, x8 
19, ao, ax, a3, 34, 96, $1 

Internal Astringents, x 

Ipecacuanha, x, xii, ^ 

Ipecacuanha, Euphorbia, xiv 

Iris xiv 

Iron, Oxysulphat of, a 

Iron, Sulphat of, xiv 

Tallap, X, xii 

James-river Ringworm, •$ 

Juglans cinerea, xiv, 43 

Tuglans oblonga alba, 43 

KALM, P., X4 

Kalmia ani^stifolia, 97 

Kalmia latifolia. a6, 3s 

Kalmia, narrow-leaved, 37 

Knox, Dr. Thomas, as 

Kuhn, Dr. Adam, 8 

Kuhn, Dr. Frederick, 3 

Lamdkill, 37 

Laurel, Broad-leaved, 35 

Laurel-tree, Common White, ax 

Laurus Benzoin, s* 

Laurus Sassafras, 87 

Laxatives 43» S3 

Leek, 4« 

Lesser Centory, xj; 

Lettsom, John Coakley, M. D., iu 

Lime-water, 47 

Lithiasis, * * * 47 

Lithontriptics, 3* f7 

Lobelia Cardinalis, . . • • xiv 

Lobelia siphilitica, xiv 

Loureiro, Father, 46 

Lumbar abscess, ai 

MaculvB, white, 44* 45 

Magnolia glauca, ao, ax 

Martin's powder, 7, 8 

Masticatories 38 

Mav-apple, xiv 

Melanthium dioicum, Walter, 5a 

M«Ua Azedarach, L 53 

Menispermum, 4^ 

Mercury, <>. 9t ^ 

Mercury, Sulphat of, )8 

Mesereon, 38 

Mitchell Dr. John S., 3 

Monro, Dr. Donald, 9 

Moonseed, 46 

Moore, Mr. James, 51 

Morris, Dr. Charles, ax, aa 

Moseley, Dr., 30 

Myrica cerifera, v, 4 

Myrica Gale, 5 

Myrtle, Candle-berry 4 

Myrtle, Dutch, 5 

Narcotic qualitibs^ 41* 5^ 

Narrow-leaved Kalmia, 37 

Negroes, worm-cases of, 5a 

Nephritic affections, 3* 49 

Nephritis 47» 48, 49 

Nerium Oleander, 35 

Nightshade, American, 37 

Oak, Pubescent Poison, 36 

Oedema, X9 

Oil of Sassafras, 37 

Oleander, common, 35 

Opium, xii, 19 

Orobanche, 7, 9 

Orobanche major 9 

Orobanche Virginiana, 6, C, 0, xo 

Ox-gall, X4 

Oxyd of arsenic, 8 

Oxysulphat of iron, a 

Paralysis, temporary, ao 

Parsley-leaved Yellow-root, xx 

Pearson, 48 

Pennsylvania Sumach, Smooth, .... 36 

Digitized by 


( vii ) 


PeripneumonU trachealis, 40 

Pemmmon, 4/ 5^ 

Peruvian Bark, ... x, xii, xiv, xvi, 6, 

«7. «8, 19, 21, 5x 

Philadelphia Flea-Bane 46* 49 

Phipseaawa, « 

Phthisis, 99 

Phthisis pulmonalit, 30 

Phjrsic, Indian, xiv 

Phytolacca decandra, vf, 38 

Phytolaccae Tinctura, 38 

Pink-root, Carolina, xiv 

Pippsisseva, 3 

Piss-wort, 46 

Plantae tinctoriae, is 

Pleunsy, 4i» 43 

Pleurisy-root, 41, 43, 43 

Plukenet. 33 

Plumked s powder, 9 

Podophyllum peltatum, xiv 

Poison-Oak, Pubescent, 36 

Poison of Rhus radicans 34» 35» 3<^ 

Poke, 37 

Poke, tincture of 38 

PolygaU Senega, .... z, xiv, xv, 24, 37 

Portland powder. is 

Powder of Plumked, 9 

Powder. Portland, 13 

Price, Dr. Thomas, 31 

Prinos Gronovii, 5 

Prinos verticillatus, v, 5 

Prunus Virginiana, «i, 23, 51 

Ptyalism 37 

Pubescent Poison Oak, 36 

Puccoon, 40 

Pulmonary consumption, 39 

Purgatives, xiv, 41 

Pyrola maculata, 3 

Pyrola umbellata, a. 3> 31* 3S* 4 

Quassia, x 


RanunculaceB, 14 

Ranunculus. 9 

Remittent Fevers, *3> M* 5> 

Rete mucosum, 44 

Rheumatic affections, 37 

Rheumatism, 37 

Rheumatism, chronic, a8 

Rheumatism, inflammatory, so 

Rhus glabrum, 36 

Rhus radicans, .... 3»f 3a» 33. 34. 35. 3« 

Rhusloxicodendron, 36 

Ringworm, James-river, 35 

Rosebay, 35 

Rush, ur., 8, so 

Sacb, common, 33 

Sage, Indian 33 

SaRvating Medicines, 36 

Salivation, 37 

Salvia officinalis, 33 

Sanguinaria, 40, 41 

Sanguinaria Canadensis, . . • 39. 40, 53 

Sassafras, Oil of, 37 

Saunders, Mr., 39 

Scabiosa, 46 

Scabious, 46 

Schoepf, Dr., 16, 31 

Scropnula, 38 

Seneca snake-root, xiv, 37, 40 

Serpenu, Bites of venemous, 38 

Shreber, Dr., 10 

Shults, Benjamin, 98 

Sialagoga, 36 

Simarouba, * * * x 

Skevish, 46 

Smooth Pennsylvania Sumach, 36 

Snake-root, Seneca, xiv, 37, ^o 

Snake-root, Virginia. xiv 

Soda, carbonate of, 48 

Sphacelus, 6 

Spigelia, x 

Spigelia Marilandica, xiv, xv 

Spiraea trifoUata, xiv, 3a 

ttammering, #35 

timulants,, 36 

Stimulants, topical, 31 

Storck, Dr., of Vienna, 30 

Strangury 46 

Succory, Wild, 16 

Sudorincs. xiv, so^ 33, 43, 46 

Sulphat of Iron, xiv 

Sulphat of Mercury, 37 

Sulphat of Zinc, i, 30 

Sulphur, 9 

Sumach, Smooth Pennsylvania, .... 36 

Suter's-berries, 39 

Swamp-Alder, 5 

Sweau. Colliquative, S3 

Sweet-Willow, 5 


Tetanus, 37, 38 

Thomas, Dr. George G., 27 

Thomson Mason, Mr., 4^. 43 

Thorough-stem, 33 

Thorough-wort, xiv 

Tincture of Gum Guaiacum, 38 

Tinctura Phytolaccae, 38 

Tobacco xii, 37 

Tonic bitter, 14, 51 

Tonics, xiv, 6, 10, si, 32, 51 

Topical Stimulants, 31 

Tormentil. i 

Tormentilla erecta, L., i 

Turpith mineral, 37 

Typnus fever, 43 


Ulcers, 9, 9 

Ulcers, cancerous, 8, 28, 30 

Ulcers, chronic 36 

Ulcers, venereu, 30 

Upright Virgin's-Bower, 30 

Urinary Calculi, 47 

Uva Ursi, a. 3* 47. 48, 49 

Vbgbtablb Antimony, 24 

Venereal disease, i, 28 

Venereal Ulcers, 30 

Venomous Serpents, Bites of, 38 

Veratrum luteum, 53 

Verminose Fevers, epidemic, 51 

Vesication. 31 

Virginia Hot Springs, 25 

Virginia snake-root, . . • * • xiv 

Virginian Broom-rape, 6 

Virginian Winter- Berry , 5 

Virgins'-Bower, 30 

Vitriol, white, i 

Virgin s-Bower. Uprifht, 30 

Walkbr, Dr. John M. 17 

Walmsley, Dr. Thomas, 37 

Walnut, Butternut, 43 

White-Henbane, 37 

White Laurel-tree, Common, 21 

White Vitriol, I 

Wild-Cotton, 43 

Wild-Succory, 16 

Willow, Sweet, 5 

Wilson, Dr. Matthew, 4 

Winter-Berry, Virginian, 5 

Withering Dr., xii, 3, ^ 

Woodhouse. Prof., 13 

Worm-powders, 51 

Worms, 50, 51, 53 

Vbllow-fbvbr, 16, 34 

Yellow-root, 13 

Yellow-root, Parsley-leaved, 11 

Yellow-water, 44 

Zanthorhiza 12, 13 

Zanthorhiza apiifolia, xi 

Zanthorhisa simplicissima, 11 

Zanthorhixa tinctoria 11 

Zanthoxyla, 38 

Zanthoxylum Clava Herculis, 38 

Zanthoxylum fraxinifolium, 38 

Zinc, Sulphat of, >• 30 

Digitized by 




Digitized by 


Digitized by 



To avoid fine, this book should be returned on 
or before the date last stamped below. 

lUU) 'Hlli^im' m iiM!> 


Barton, B.S. 
Essay towards a ma